Roy Cohn's Views Of Homosexuals

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According to Act I, Scene 9, Roy Cohn essentially declares that, “Homosexuals are not men who sleep with other men” (Kushner 51), seemingly ignoring the dictionary definition of the term. Instead, Roy personally defines homosexuals as, “[M]en who know nobody and who nobody knows. Who have zero clout” (Kushner 51). By stating this, Roy argues that who one sleeps with does not define whether or not someone is a homosexual, but rather the amount of power they possess does. By defining homosexuals in this way, Roy is implying that they are individuals who possess no power and are therefore “worthless” in the world. In his definition of the term, Roy is arguing that homosexuals are worthless and he can’t be a homosexual because of how influential…show more content…
Specifically, readers can see that Roy is lying about himself when he refuses to admit he is a homosexual and hides behind his aforementioned delusional understanding of the term. Even to his own doctor, who knows the truth, Roy does not admit that he is gay, keeping up this façade that he is a successful, heterosexual man. Furthermore, readers can see that Roy is lying to himself when he states, “AIDS is what homosexuals have. I have liver cancer” (Kushner 52). Although he does admit to having sex with men, Roy cannot accept the fact that he has AIDS, a disease which is common among homosexual men. Since he keeps up the act that he is indeed a heterosexual male, Roy has to reject this diagnosis because if he doesn’t, he’ll be admitting to himself that he is homosexual. Once he admits this fact to himself, his façade—which is supported by the fact that he himself does not believe he is a homosexual per se—will crumble from there. As a result, in order to keep up appearances, Roy must lie both about and to himself about being homosexual, for the truth will come out once he…show more content…
Unfortunately, being labeled as a homosexual came with a specific stigma back in the mid-1980s, and many individuals were not as accepting of homosexuals as they tend to be today. Consequently, having to admit that he was a homosexual would have destroyed both Roy’s career and reputation, specifically as a result of this negative stigma. When readers examine Roy’s definition of the term homosexual once more, one may realize that Roy simply could not be labeled as a homosexual because of how damaging it would be to his career and possession of clout, which is why he is so adamant about not being labeled as such. As Roy had stated, “I have sex with men. But unlike nearly every other man of whom this is true, I bring the guy I’m screwing to the White House and President Reagan smiles at us and shakes his hand” (Kushner 52). This shows that, yes, Roy sleeps with men, but he can’t receive that label due to the fact that he is too successful and it would tear him off of his podium—he has too many powerful connections, such as the President, to admit that he is a homosexual. Unfortunately, this attitude is all too relevant today as well, for many individuals often refuse to admit part of their identity in fear of how it will change their lives. Certain terms and labels have
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