I think there's a lot of truth to what Lou and Gary are saying. SF as deprogramming? Hell, as a gay kid growing up in Central Scotland, I can identify pretty strongly with the picture Lou paints of his childhod environment. The New Town housing scheme in Hellwinning where I grew up was built in the 70s to take the Glasgow inner city overspill and punt it out to greener, more suburban pastures. Result? Take the razor-gang culture of Glasgow and cross-breed it with the small town mentality of an Ayrshire village. Subsitute "catholics" for "blacks" and you get the picture. The Scots, much as I think wey're an innately socialist culture, also gave the world the Orange Lodge and the Masonic Order and, eventually, the Ku Klux Klan. I remember the National Front, Skrewdriver, all of that same "prejudice and ignorance" that Lou puts his finger on. And I remember how reading Robert Heinlein (of all writers!) opened my eyes to issues of sexuality and gender, with works that, for all their self-indulgent libertarian tosh, presented ideas of group marriages and alternative lifestyles that helped me come to terms with my sexuality. Samuel R Delany kicked the door wide open, but it was Heinlein who unlocked it, so to speak, when I was that 14 year old kid finding solace in the local library, devouring Asimov and Bradbury and -- holy fuck -- the crazy, whacked-out drug dreams of PKD. Questioning the accepted order of things? Damn straight.
He links Lou Anders, who is also smarter than I am.
Really, with these guys around, I find I don't have much to add to the conversation except the occasional Amen.