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"Capitalism and Gay Identity"
Capitalism and Gay Identity
Arianna Escobar
"Capitalism and Gay Identity," John D'Emilio

Gays and lesbians have become increasingly accepted by society. There are many more gay communities, facilities, and organizations than ever before and the number is rising. When did gay activity evolve into a lifestyle? John D'Emilio pondered this very question when he formulated his essay, "Capitalism and Gay Identity." D'Emilio argues that the development of capitalism, and its free labor system, has allowed gays and lesbians to create a "homosexual identity" (229), opposing the belief that this identity has always existed for them. D'Emilio makes his points clear and convincing, although he omits many other factors that led to this revolution. The reader can then argue that although capitalism is one of the factors delineating a gay identity, others are overlooked in D'Emilio's attempt to make a clear correlation between capitalism and gay identity.

D'Emilio makes a clear distinction between homosexual behavior and gay identity. He admits that there have always been homosexuals, but the identity he speaks of comes from a society that allows them to exist. He points out that in colonial years, society lacked the terms to even acknowledge homosexuals. They referred to this activity as "sodomy among men" (229) and "lewdness among women" (229). In certain states, laws forced unmarried adults to live in "family units" (229) and they were unable to make a way of life through their attractions.

Moreover, D'Emilio goes on to say that capitalism was the cause of gay identity through the breakdown of both the family's monetary independence and its interdependence on each other. Before capitalism, families were able to support themselves by their own means. As D'Emilio puts it "…husbands, wives, and children worked together to produce the goods they consumed"(228). They could rely on themselves to be self-sufficient so long as they had a family. In...

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"Capitalism and Gay Identity." Aug 20, 2018
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