IN MY YOUTH, I had a strong gaydar when it came to literature, reveling in the homosexual undertones of the classics. Looking back now, it’s hard to believe that anyone could be blind to the essential gayness of Moby-Dick or Songs of Myself, but at the time, reading such works aroused no suspicion. When I finally came out to someone else—an older man with whom I had unexpectedly, overwhelmingly, fallen in love—he gave me more books, as a substitute for himself (he was taken; I was young and naïve). The reading list was huge and exciting—Christopher Isherwood, Andrew Holleran, Edmund White. Here were novels that didn’t mask sexuality behind the safety of symbolism. I didn’t have to read between the lines to find the messages meant for me and my kind. It was all right there on the page, just as I would soon discover it in the world.