C.M-S: Why have you written
so many books about homosexuality or Aids?
D.F: I am a
homosexual myself and it seems to me normal that it should be a
main theme of my works.
many gay writers have avoided writing about homosexuality. Why do
you do so?
D.F: When I
was still young, a student, the topic was tabu in society. But I
have lived in two epochs. The one epoch where the theme was a forbidden
one, and people were expected to be ashamed of the fact. I don't
think it is the task of a writer to get mixed up in politics. But
he can be active on matters which affect him daily.
C.M-S: So you
don't take part in the French homosexual movement then ...
D.F: Non. I'm
not at all militant in this respect. As a young man I suffered very
much from being an 'outsider". Since I have achieved a degree
of fame as a writer, I felt the urge to write about the question
led you to write the novel about Pasolini ion the early 80's?
was a challenge as a character for a novel. In my opinion he is
one of the last heroes of the novel -- a hero who is searching for
C.M-S: It would
appear you consciously carry out publicity work for homosexuals.
D.F: Yes. As
I said I'm not militant, but I think that through my books ...
moved you to write this new book about the cultural history of homosexuality
when there are so many books about gays in history?
D.F: I don’t
think there is a comparable book. At least not as a complete work
on this theme.
C.M-S: Do you
hope that your books will: give the average citizen a better picture
D.F: I think
I have already had some influence dealing with certain events. For
example my “The Pink Star" caused much discussion and debate
in the press and TV, too.
how do you think things will develop
I think, is the country in which homosexuals enjoy most freedom.
Homosexuality is not even mentioned in the law books; the age
of consent is 15. Nevertheless public opinion is in general opposed
to us, The socialist government is relatively liberal ... It is
still necessary to struggle for freedom But I think homosexuals
will always be regarded an 'outsider" ('andere/other")
as in the title of journal "The Other World".
you, in the process of writing your book thought about why homosexual
men feel so drawn to the military?
D.F: They feel
drawn towards male societies. Some of most determined opponents
of homosexuals are themselves homosexual. The cause is the suppression
of their own sexuality. They are afraid their own homosexuality
and haven't got the courage to carry out their feelings for other
men although they feel drawn to them, They are angry at those who
C.M-S: Thank you for the interview.
Fernandez read some extracts from his new book. Here they are,
in our unofficial, and slightly shortened translation.
D F on role models
Dolls for the girls, toy soldiers
for the boys: with the first toys the great plot begins to
absorb everyone into a predetermined gender role. What do
you read in school? We hear about Adam and Eve but not about
David and Jonathan; about Hector and Andromache, not Hadrian
and Antoninous, about Romeo and Juliet, not Edward II and
Piers Gaveston. This terrible cultural plot is never punished.
Never, not in literature, nor in everyday life, are homosexual
couples depicted as role models.
D F on demographic considerations
The ban on homosexuality comes
originally from Moses. from the Jewish religion. The Jewish
people was a small one and forced to multiply itself, to survive
at all -- to produce children and soldiers to continue to
exist as a people. In this respect the necessity to reproduce
itself is a purely demographic one which gave rise to the
argumentation (against homosexuality). Our planet is threatened
now with an over-population. In China it is forbidden to have
more than one child. -- They should encourage homosexuality.
An intelligent government would pursue such a policy, because
the danger today is that there will be too many people on
our planet earth.
DF on freedom and mediocrity
Homosexual culture has today an essentially greater opportunity
of expressing itself. But despite this greater freedom homosexual
culture and art is in fact on the decline. The numerous homosexuals
in history who played a major role in art and culture precisely
because they were different from heterosexual society were
in no way hindered by their homosexual nature from being creatively
As I already said homosexual literature
is markedly freer to express itself, at least in some few
countries of western Europe. We have this large number of
books by homosexuals, at least in France and Italy – the countries
which I can be judge, because I know them, -- and at the same
time it is clear that this is accompanied by mediocrity.
The fact that much is now permitted that was previously forbidden
has obviously led to this mediocrity that can be seen everywhere.
I don't want to say that this freedom leads necessarily to
mediocrity. I only want to state that this is the situation
at present. At least in the field which I know I can see that
standards have declined. That doesn't mean that it must always
be so ... I am of the opinion, however, that homosexual writing
is in a land of crisis because writers obviously don't know
how this greater freedom in the means of expression, can be
used to create great literature.
(The titles of books mentioned here are translations and
not necessarily those used by the publisher of a foreign edition.)
Colin de la Motte-Sherman