Subject-SUBJECT consciousness, a concept proposed by Harry Hay believed by Hay to be gay people's unique perspective on the world. Hay saw heterosexual society existing in a subject-object dynamic; where men, who had the culturally acceptable power, saw only themselves as subject and therefore higher than women, who were treated as objects and property. Hay extrapolated this interpersonal-sexual dynamic (male-power:female-subordinate) into a broader social context, believing that the subject-object relationship was the driving force behind most all of societies ills. Objectification served as a barrier, emotionally separating an individual (subject) from another individual by dehumanizing them, making them object.
When Hay looked at same-sex relationships, however, he saw a different dynamic at work. He believed that homosexual relationships were based on mutual respect and empathy for the other: a longing for a companion who was as equally valuable as the self. Hay termed this interpersonal-sexual dynamic subject-SUBJECT (which Hay capitalized for emphasis in all of his writings). He believed that this subject-SUBJECT way of viewing the world was gay people's most valuable contribution to the greater society. By empathizing with all people, relating to each other as equal-to-equal, society would change drastically and social injustices would be eradicated.
- Harry Hay, Will Roscoe (ed.), Radically Gay: Gay Liberation in the Words of its Founder, Beacon Press, 1996.
- Stuart Timmons, The Trouble with Harry Hay: Founder of the Modern Gay Movement, Alyson Publications, 1990.