Eve Tushnet Profiled in the NYT


Jason Kuznicki

Jason Kuznicki is a research fellow at the Cato Institute and contributor of Cato Unbound. He's on twitter as JasonKuznicki. His interests include political theory and history.

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13 Responses

  1. I’ve been reading Tushnet for a while, and my sense is that, while she’s often deliberately eccentric, she is drawing attention to parts of the Catholic tradition that may be of some help to devout Catholics (or other Christians) who aren’t straight, and that the public-policy stuff is of secondary importance in her work. But if you’re not Catholic, it might not be for you.

    This part of the article is really on-point, at least as far as her writing goes:

    “[Tushnet] may befuddle others, but for her, life is joyful. She takes obvious pleasure in being an eccentric in a tradition with no shortage of odd heroes, visionaries and saints. […] ‘I really think the most important thing is, I really like being gay and I really like being Catholic,’ she says. “If nobody ever calls me self-hating again, it will be too soon.’ ”Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    So if homosexuals abstain, they can get hospital visitation rights?Report

  3. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    Jason, I guess I’m not in the same demographic as Tushnet, but as a married man, I find your description of married sex and love very easy to understand.Report

  4. Avatar Justin says:

    What I find puzzling/hard to get my head around is the notion that her god not only created her, and is presumably okay with her as a lesbian, but that same god does not want her to experience sexual intimacy with her preferred partner. (Full disclosure- I have not read much of Ms. Tushnet’s work, so am not clear exactly what her definition of celibate is, which one can certainly make more malleable as a lesbian than as a gay man.) Perhaps it is similar to the consecrated virgins? I am not one to judge, but it seems to me that Ms. Tushnet’s lifestyle is one that an infinitesimally small number of people might want to emulate.Report

  5. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    when we’re old andwrinkly and have totally lost interest

    And you, sir, don’t know as much as you think about older couples. And I wish you and your husband the joy of discovering that first.hand.Report

  6. As a fellow Catholic convert, I’m inspired and humbled by Tushnet’s witness. My faith has not demanded so much of me, or perhaps it has and I’ve refused to listen.

    There are obvious, real, and non-illusory goods in the intimacy and love Jason talks about. There is no use and quite a bit of mischief in denying them. From a secular perspective, it’s hard to see why one would ever give up these good things. One would have to be infected with a certain madness, one like the gospel of Christ as heard by the saints and mystics.

    But I know very little of that.Report

  7. Avatar nadezhda says:

    Two thoughts. First, Jason says: “Or we can — both gay and straight — face such responsibilities as adults. Growing up is hard. But we do it anyway.” Precisely. The genie is out of the bottle, the boat has sailed on both sexual mores (gay and straight) and our expectations about marriage. That’s my main point on the other thread re the Pill — we’re not going to get rid of contraception even if, for some hard to fathom reason, we might want to. It both gives us the freedom and requires us to learn to act responsibly. So those who are distressed by the cultural ramifications of the Pill, or the growing acceptance of homosexuals in committed partnerships, should focus on helping people make grown up choices. Don’t just mourn for a Golden Age (that never was) or condemn people who are trying to be morally responsible adults.

    Second, Tushnet rather ingenuously omits what seems to me to be the most obvious shift in marriage patterns over the past several decades, and one which has some features to recommend it. That’s “serial monogamy”, which is something quite different from her Door No. 2: “reshape marriage into an optional, individualized institution, ignoring the creative and destructive potentials of ‘straight’ sex”.

    Let’s set aside the “when I’m 64” and “trophy wives” problem about keeping the physical passion alive. After decades of marriage, it’s a small miracle if a couple has grown together so the people they have become remain emotionally compatible — that they are still each other’s most important person with whom they want to spend their leisure hours and continue to build a life. That’s true especially after children have flown the coup. Society appears to have started to acknowledge that committed relationships aren’t failures if they don’t manage to last forever. And I think that’s a healthy thing.

    I would expect that when we adopt SSM as a legal option and it becomes commonplace, we’ll see the same sort of pattern emerge with homosexual couples: strongly committed couples who may not turn out to be life-long partners. And there shouldn’t be anything wrong with that.Report