Selective Reading of a Complex Era

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Stand By MeStand By Me: The Forgotten History of Gay Liberation
by Jim Downs
Basic Books. 272 pages, $28.99

 

THE PERIOD loosely called “gay liberation” is invariably thought of as falling somewhere between the buttoned-up climate of the 1950s and the emergence of AIDS in the ’80s, but for Jim Downs and many others, it ultimately comes down to the ’70s. Also, while the word “gay” was in current usage at this time, the era referred to as “gay liberation” involved lesbians, transsexuals, transvestites, and self-questioners as much as it did gay men.

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