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4 July 2006

Eric Rofes

I’ve been holding back a bit on this, because it was a week of various deaths out there. The mother of a friend of BF died last week. And an acquaintance of mine from San Francisco, Eric Rofes, died in Provincetown last week.

I knew Eric through a fairly unusual group, especially for me. He was the organizer and primus inter pares of SexPols, a discussion group on sexual politics in San Francisco. We were a disparate lot, comprised of authors, academics, activists, journalists, teachers, and administrators of various sorts and political persuasions. No topics were verboten, no puzzles too knotty, all thoughts were welcomed, but no holds were barred.

I spent lots of time disagreeing in the group: I was one of the younger members, I was the only professed Christian (and religious person, I think), I am not necessarily a fan of Judith Butler (although, not everyone was), and I’m just contrary, liking a good argument. SexPols was great because it was a place in which my natural tendency to learn through contention was one of the natural ways of going about our business. And no one seemed to go away angry. Eric’s natural joviality and easy-going manner showed us the simultaneously silly and serious natures of all that we talked about.

The topics didn’t matter as much as the creation of kinship, and the finding of people who shared the love of ideas for their own sake, who loved discussion and contention as a means of learning and growing.

And the potluck each month at our meeting was delicious, too….

I’ve missed that here in Boston. I haven’t seemed to plug into that part of the queer community here — where smart people interested in serious and even “forbidden” ideas sit around and tried to teach and learn from each other, without it feeling like a classroom.

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One Response to “Eric Rofes”

  1. George Phillips Says:

    Nice words about Eric. He did have the ability to discuss serious things and still keep everyone calm with his whit, sense of humor and charisma. I was his friend, he was my friend. I miss him already and it was almost overwhelming to see the turnout at his memorial here in SF. The lives he touched, the issues he dealt with were amazing. He was much loved and will be much missed! He also wouldn’t like my grammer there.