Andrew Sullivan’s 1995 Virtually Normal is a deeply underappreciated book in the history of struggles for minority rights in America. When it came out, the prediction that gay acceptance would be not only possible but actually so total that it would be unremarkable for gay people to marry and be treated more or less like straight people seemed at best like wishful thinking from the young gay writer. Fast forward, and Sullivan was vindicated. Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign ran on marriage being between one man and one woman. Now, such a position would be unthinkable for perhaps even a Republican at that political level. How quickly we forget.
In the book, Sullivan quotes queer theorist David Halperin: “The effort to discover a scientific or hormonal basis for sexual preference [will] eventually come to nothing, not so much for lack of scientific progress (which has never stopped research, if other motives for it remained) as for lack of