An analysis of this word ‘defective’ produced for D the association of losing safety, being unlovable and paranoidly sensitive to the judgement, gaze, and glance of others. Butler writes:

There is a set of legitimating norms, and they all come with their punishments and costs, so that when we emerge into subjecthood we emerge with a set of norms that give us a place–the legitimacy–the lovability–the promise of security and we risk all these things when we abdicate these norms. What is punishment for the child, but the perceived withdrawal of love. (Butler 1997: 7-8)

Although D intellectually accepted being gay and went through the process of coming out to family and friends who did not reject him; although he marched at Pride and was dazzled by the exhilarating feeling of taking up the streets and belonging to a crowd and not to a minority, he remained troubled about his past and unsure of why he was meant to proud about his sexuality which had brought him so much grief.

A dream reported at this time threw more light on D’s divided desires. The Civil Partnership Act (2004) had recently been passed and, whatever its limitations, seemed to afford a prospect of recognition/legal recognition of same-sex couples. Perhaps it promised an air of respectability for those, like D, whose experience of his gayness had been marred by a profound disrespect. He dreamed of two houses, in one of which faceless men were having sex with each other in a frenzied, and to borrow his word, ‘passionless’ way–a house he wanted to get away from. He was then transported to another house, which was light and hosting some kind of celebration. When I asked for associations to the dream, he explained that the first house reminded him of a gay sauna, which he had been frequenting mostly when drunk and always walked out of feeling dirty and regretful. The other house looked very much like the place where one of his cousins got married. His face lit up as he described the cousin’s romantic encounter and the family’s lavish wedding party. A rather obvious interpretation that he wanted to leave behind the passionless world of gay saunas and be claimed/loved as signified by the marriage produced a long account of his frustrated desires to have a ‘real boyfriend’.