You Could Get Beat Up
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Published in: July-August 2019 issue.


Indecent Advances:  A Hidden History of True Crime and Prejudice Before Stonewall
by James Polchin
Counterpoint Press. 225 pages, $26.


THIS YEAR marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, but what preceded those explosive nights in Sheridan Square was decades in the making. In the era before Stonewall, when gay men were forced to lead closeted lives, those who sought to express their sexuality, however furtively, were often victimized and even murdered for doing so. The press coverage of such attacks on gay men was distorted and sensational, and they often turned the victim into the criminal. In Indecent Advances: A Hidden History of True Crime and Prejudice Before Stonewall, James Polchin explores this important feature of the “bad old days” before gay liberation.

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William Burton is a writer based in Provincetown, Mass.



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