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EVERY LANGUAGE makes assumptions and embodies biases so deeply embedded as to be invisible to its speakers. Every so often a cultural prejudice of this kind comes to light, as when people began to point out that English and many languages take for granted a gender dualism that’s typified by the third-person singular pronouns “he”More
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            Physical human contact, or even proximity, could now be deadly. So what about dating? hooking up? sex outside the home? Surprisingly, Grindr, Scruff, and their ilk have not disappeared. In fact, reports indicate that they are as busy as ever, but in a different way. Welcome to dating without meeting, hooking up without beingMore
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ERIC CERVINI is the author of The Deviant’s War: The Homosexual vs. the United States of America. The book is both a biography of gay rights activist Frank Kameny and a history of the times in which he lived and organized the first protests for homosexual rights in the 1950s and ‘60s. This interview wasMore
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Even before Covid, some venues were already greatly diminished by the predominance of the Internet, but they were still clinging to life, only to now get a huge kick into oblivion by the pandemic.
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Around the world, masks have been the one recurring metaphor to symbolize the Covid-19 pandemic. Historically, masks serve a social function and can be used in communal rituals to promote the cohesion and the well-being of a community, as protection from evil spirits, or to ward off sickness. Often in poetry a mask trope alludesMore
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the house had books—books I’d been accumulating and hadn’t looked at in many years. A lot of them were in a bookcase I discovered only when a friend took an old recliner that I’d stashed on the porch long ago to the town dump. The moment he did, I realized it had been hiding aMore
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Short Reviews
Reviews of Female Husbands: A Trans History, and The Chiffon Trenches: A Memoir
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“MAY I CONFESS to you a few things about myself?” Evan James asks in one of the 23 essays that make up I’ve Been Wrong BeforeI, an assessment of his young adulthood, globe-trotting adventures in his thirties, and daddy issues.
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Fiebre Tropical is a triumphant exploration of queer Latinidad in the 20th century.
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Real Life arrives at an important moment in our ongoing national conversation—now a global one—about race and racism in American society.
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Jesus and John is a story not only of love, devotion, and longing, but also a finely written and refreshingly liberating “queering” of the Jesus myth that has been so misused and misunderstood in relation to LGBT lives.
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Tierra del Fuego
            Fire on the Island has one instance of sexual assault along with several depictions of ethnic racism and homophobia. These elements do not seem misplaced in any way but carry the story toward a satisfying conclusion. Smith has blended action, drama, romance, and mystery into an arresting tale set in an alluring part ofMore
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Curious Toys can be grim, filled as it is with incinerated corpses, poisoned candy, and filthy slums, but it also contains some hope, particularly for Pin. The final few chapters made me a little teary-eyed, and I realized that this novel, which is ostensibly a historical crime thriller, is really about something else entirely.
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Memories of Fantasies
            Flowers’ poems are slippery things. They slide so smoothly between memory and dream, fantasy and reality, the present and childhood, that I sometimes didn’t notice the transitions. Nor do I think he wants us to know exactly where we are. All experiences are mixed in the solvent of language or superimposed on each other.
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            In William Benemann’s insightful study, the driving urge for Ishmael and many others to take to the sea may have been about more than depression or adventurism. It just may have been because sailing ships offered one of the few places where one can express same-sex desire.
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Warhol highlights the line that connects the artist to Marcel Duchamp and the Dadaists. In fact, Warhol was originally called a neo-Dadaist. In one of its many digressions, the book describes at length the French artist Yves Klein, perhaps best known for his 200 blue monochrome paintings, and their influence on Warhol.
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            Jackie Shane was a trailblazer in the world of soul music for queer and trans people. (She re-emerged decades later, an anthology of her music was released in 2018, and she was nominated for a Grammy for Best Historical Album.) She lived authentically and unapologetically until her death in 2019. During her short career, sheMore
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            Holly George-Warren’s new biography, Janis: Her Life and Music, is large and immersive despite Janis’ short life. As most of her fans know, Janis Joplin was a charter member of the “27 club,” a list of rock musicians who died at that age. Janis’ off-and-on love affair with various kinds of dope clearly contributedMore
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Kahlo approached painting with a “fearless spirit,” says art historian Celia Stahr, whose new book Frida in America offers an intelligent and lucid investigation of the artist’s formative years.
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WHEN I SAW the title of this Faulkner study, researched and written by a professor of English and gay studies at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, my first reaction was a “What?” of disbelief. I’ve read most of Faulkner’s novels and many of his short stories and the gay hypothesis never occurred to me. Faulkner struckMore
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  AT THE CENTER OF ALL BEAUTY Solitude and the Creative Life by Fenton Johnson Norton, 236 pages, $26.95     THIS BOOK is as unclassifiable as Thoreau’s Walden, whose author is the subject of one of its chapters. Part memoir, part critical study of writers and artists, part queer manifesto, At the Center ofMore
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            The big discovery for me was Simeon Solomon (1840–1905)— a name I didn’t recognize—who had two works in the Yale show: Babylon Hath Been a Golden Cup (pen and ink, 1859) and Bacchus (oil painting, 1867). With a little research, I found that Solomon, younger than the first wave of PRB artists, was consideredMore
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Two Tales of Two Hollywoods
Circus of Books and Hollywood, a documentary and miniseries, respectively, share an interest in the margins around Tinseltown, especially its LGBT subculture and what “hustling” means in various forms.
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   While Nomi’s voice was eternally silenced in August 1983, his influence echoed through the ensuing decades. Andrew Horn’s 2004 documentary The Nomi Song brought a new wave of Nomi-mania to the U.S., and a new generation of musicians, like Mike Hadreas of Perfume Genius, Heloise Lessiter of Christine and the Queens, and Anohni, haveMore
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First published in 1938, Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca has never gone out of print. The reason is not hard to understand. In the words of du Maurier’s son Kits Browning: “It’s the old cliché. It’s a bloody good story.” The book has been called a romance, a mystery, and a Gothic novel. It has been adaptedMore
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B.T.W.
Takes on news of the day.
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Letters to the Editor
Thoughts from our readers.
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ON JUNE 15th, in the case of Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 6-to-3 vote that discrimination based upon sexual orientation and gender identity is illegal.
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THIS WOULD normally be our quadrennial Election Issue, which in the past (starting in 1996) always led with an essay by former Congressman Barney Frank. Producing this issue was always a challenge, as it goes to press in late July, and a lot can happen in three-plus months even in an ordinary year.
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With the publication of Faggots in 1978, Larry Kramer became a proudly, defiantly gay writer, but paradoxically through a sweepingly satirical indictment of early gay liberation. In its palpable anger, it landed better initially with mainstream critics of the gay community than with gay activists.
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