Except that a strange thought kept niggling in my brain: What if I had been straight, and I had gone really, really wrong? What if, given the privilege of heterosexuality, I turned against all the vulnerable and disadvantaged people, who, as a gay man, I inherently empathize with? As part of my job, I regularly read the writings of people in whom something has broken or withered—people who have lost the ability to see the humanity in others. I put myself in the mindset of people who dehumanize and vilify and hate. I become intimately acquainted with the twisted beliefs of those who, encountering a person they don’t quite understand, lash out with cruel loathing and immoral rage.
Because I am gay, it is basically impossible for me to become one of these people. The identity—a professional minority-basher—just doesn’t fit, and besides, they wouldn’t exactly welcome me into their club. Gay people are born with empathy for the underdog, whether we like it or not. We’ve all played the role of the outcast, the weirdo; we’ve all faced prejudice and discrimination and sorrow and self-loathing. Those of us who emerge from the darkness gain newfound will and determination. But we can’t shake that fundamental desire of justice, that yearning for fairness for those despised by society.