Journalist Laurie Penny was embedded with Milo and his collection of Lost Boys just as the wheels were coming off his "Dangerous Faggot" tourbus. It's a long, furious, and furiously intelligent piece. Go read the whole thing. I wanted to respond to this paragraph...

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Delicious as you might find it to see karma come for Yiannopoulos, what he actually said about gay relationships and child molestation was less offensive than a great many bigoted things he has come out with—in part because, for once, it seemed just a little bit true to his experience. When he spoke about consenting relationships between adult men where there’s a large age gap, he was talking about something that is a real and meaningful part of romantic experience for a lot of gay men—and something that American conservatives seem to have no problem with when the participants are heterosexual or, indeed, presidential candidates. His mangled age-of-consent comments and crass priest jokes are a bridge too far, especially for the conservative mainstream, which has so far held performative racism, transphobia, sexism, and xenophobia as well within the bounds of free speech. Today, absolutely nobody, from his publishers to his former tour promoter, is defending Yiannopoulos’ right to consequence-free speech.

As Penny notes earlier in the piece: It was conservatives, not liberals or progressives, who took Yiannopoulos down. (Or maybe just slowed him down.) Conservative activists circulated the incriminating-but-publicly-available podcast recordings after Yiannopoulos was invited to speak at Wingnutapalooza. As others have pointed out (including the brilliant Roxane Gay, brilliantly), the GOP, CPAC, Donald Trump, Simon & Schuster, et al, didn't have a problem with Yiannopoulos when he was attacking feminists, people of color, immigrants, queers, trans people, individual trans women, Muslims, Leslie Jones, etc.

I don't want to quibble with Penny, but Yiannopoulos wasn't just talking about "consenting relationships between adult men where there’s a large age gap." At times and clumsily, yes, Yiannopoulos was talking about relationships between young men—teenage boys above the age consent—and older adult gay men. But he also said this: "We're talking about 13/25, 13/28—these things do happen perfectly consensually." Challenged on another point, Yiannopoulos described 13-year-olds as "sexually mature" (has he ever met a 13 year old?) and clearly suggested that 13 year olds were capable of consenting to sexual contact with adults. And, of course, Yiannopoulos crudely/jokingly expressed his gratitude to the priest he says molested him when he was 14.

But I gotta say...

In all fairness to a piece of shit who has never publicly treated another human being with fairness or decency or compassion... it's true that many adult gay men had relationships when they were first coming out with older gay men. These relationships can be "a real and meaningful part of [early] romantic experience," per Penny, "[and they] can help a young gay man escape from a lack of support or understanding at home," per Yiannopoulos. (They can also be abusive or exploitative nightmares—but so too can early romantic relationships with "age-appropriate" partners. High school sweethearts can also be abusers.)

I had my first serious boyfriend when I was 18; he was 28. He wasn't the guy I would spend the rest of my life with, but I'm grateful he spent the summer of 1982 with me. Now there was a reason he was dating a teenager at his age—he wasn't very mature—but he was extremely kind. And in addition to the sex, which I enthusiastically consented to, my first boyfriend also shared with me what he knew about surviving as a gay man. There wasn't much support or understanding for me at home or at school or on the street or in the media. But I found support and understanding in his apartment—support, understanding, and reading assignments. One day, probably after we fucked, he handed me a copy of George Weinberg's Society and the Healthy Homosexual, and told me to take it home and read it. That book convinced me of something I had long suspected—we weren't the ones with a problem—and armed me with arguments that would come in handy when I told my mother I was gay later that same summer.

And I gotta say to straight people who don't approve of gay large-age-gap (LAG) relationships...

Take some fucking responsibility. Why do so many younger gay men—teenage boys past the age of consent—wind up dating older gay men? Speaking for gay men of my generation, a lot of us dated older gay men because we had no other choice. I wound up dating a 28-year-old guy at 18 because I was the only semi-out gay teenager in my high school, there weren't many out gay teenagers to choose from in the city of Chicago (imagine the plight of gay teenagers in smaller towns!), and finding the gay teenagers who were out before the Internet came along was difficult bordering on impossible. And why were so few of my peers out? Because they couldn't be. Because they feared violence at the hands of straight people. Because they feared being rejected by their straight friends. Because they feared being thrown out of the house by their straight parents. The choice for out gay teenagers back then was dating no one—while watching your heterosexual peers and siblings date and have their first relationships, all under the approving eye of their proud, meddling parents—or dating someone "inappropriate."

Given a choice between a LAG boyfriend and an imaginary one, I chose LAG.

Many of today's LGBT youth have an easier time being out—many, but not all—and the ones who can be out have a much easier time finding each other. (Even the ones who have to remain closeted have an easier time finding each other.) So early LAG relationships may less common today than they once were. Maybe this is a generational thing. But I still get letters from frustrated gay boys impatient to do what they see their peers and siblings doing—dating, hooking up, experimenting—and they don't wanna be told they have to wait until they get to college or move to a bigger city to start dating and having sex. (A straight mom recently wrote me and said this about her gay son: "I know he's been frustrated that he's never dated, and all his (straight) friends seem to be coupled up right now.")

So look, straight people, if you don't want gay teenagers above the age of consent entering into sexual relationships older gay men—if you don't want your gay sons pursuing older gay men and vice-versa—do what you can to make it safe for your gay teenagers to come out and date each other. Be just as supportive, proud, affirming and meddlesome when your gay teen starts to date as you are when your straight teens start to date. Some young-but-above-the-age-of-consent gay men will still wind up in relationships with older gay men (some younger gay men prefer older gay men), but fewer young gay men will wind up in LAG relationships if they have the option of coming out and dating each other without fear of violence, rejection, or homelessness.

And, yes, older gay men should keep their hands off just-above-the-age-of-consent gay teenagers. Older straight men and women should keep their hands off just-above-the-age-of-consent straight teenagers too. And older everybody should keep their hands off just-above-the-age-of-consent bi teenagers. But, again, if your 17-year-old gay kid can be out at school and can date other gay teens with your support and approval, he's far less likely to open a Grindr account and claim to be 23 years old.

And finally, Frank Bruni writes in the NYT...

I heard nothing worthwhile during Yiannopoulos’s news conference Tuesday afternoon, though I heard a whole lot of Trump in him, and I wondered—no, shuddered—at a kind of worldview that may well be in ascendance, thanks to its validation by our president.... The real Yiannopoulos kept bubbling up through the fake-sorry Yiannapoulos, who didn’t even pretend all that hard. Presenting himself as some kind of martyr and refashioning himself as some kind of hero, he couldn’t have had more of Trump’s DNA in him if he were Trump’s clone.

I'm guessing Bruni wanted to go with "cum dump," but the editors at the New York Times made him go with "clone."