That Trip Did Her Good
Becoming a Woman: A Biography of Christine Jorgensen by Richard F. Docter, M.D. Harrington Park Press. 355 pages, $49.95 ($19.95 paper) WHEN GEORGE JORGENSEN became a woman and renamed herself Christine some fifty years ago, she made headlines around the world. Richard F. Docter sat next to Jorgensen by chance at aMore
Jesus, the Centurion, and His Lover
Matthew could have included the story of the centurion and his pais simply to illustrate that Jesus reached out to “outsiders.” Jews of first-century Palestine would have considered the centurion a detestable foreigner, regardless of his relationship with the pais. But the contextual and linguistic factors present the possibility of an intimate physical and emotionalMore
Something Unforgettable, Forgotten
FRIENDS OF COLEMAN DOWELL must have endured more than most. Edmund White knew Dowell well and has done much to sponsor his writings since the novelist’s suicide in 1985. He provides a preface to Eugene Hayworth’s new book, Fever Vision, that illustrates just how bleak Dowell’s companionship could be.
Song and Dance Men
Chance and Circumstance is a fascinating document of an American dance company and two gay artists and their times, each occupying a singular place in American culture. Brown doesn’t miss a beat or a gesture of the New York art world. She gives us the minutiae of squabbles, jealousies, and wardrobe malformations, along with theMore
Hedonism Bound: Isherwood in Berlin
IN MAY OF 1928, Christopher Isherwood made his first trip to Germany. He went as a tourist on a brief visit to the port city of Bremen. Though unremarkable in many respects, this trip would prove to be amazingly generative. For the reading public, the visit was a catalyst that would eventually result in someMore
The Man Who Loved Frankenstein
Despite how trapped I was by the various ideologies of the academy, I was also claiming my gay identity for the first time, and I began to see that I could think for myself, if only a little. I started to feel that Mary Shelley’s epic possessed a better-and by far a gayer-grasp on theMore
Underexposed: Gerald Glaskin’s Fiction
WHEN BARRIE AND ROCKLIFF published Gerald Glaskin’s No End To The Way in 1965, it must have raised many eyebrows, not least in the British Home Office. This frank portrayal of a gay relationship between an Australian advertising executive (Ray) and a Dutch barman (Cor) was noteworthy for its absence of the “obligatory” tragic endingMore
A Strange Fruit Grows in Louisville
… At a very early age I became aware of what I then considered my “deviant” sexuality. In my mind, it made sense that since people of such conflicting and deep ideological difference could seamlessly consider one another as kin, then wider acculturation of difference in sexuality should certainly follow. …
One Way to the Southern Heart
“Among other common lies, we have the silent lie-the deception which one conveys by simply keeping still and concealing the truth. Many obstinate truth mongers indulge in this dissipation, imagining that if they speak no lie, they lie not at all … There is no art to a silent lie. It is timid and shabby.”More
IMAGINE WRITING a letter to your most brilliant teacher. Then imagine writing to your emperor, a man with the power of life and death over his subjects. These intimidating circumstances form the background for the correspondence between Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, … and Marcus Cornelius Fronto …
The South Reverts to Gothic
THERE IS a growing literature attesting to the terrors and gothic comedies of growing up gay in the American South. With his memoir Kevin Sessums has produced a masterpiece that outshines all other contributions to this genre since Truman Capote’s Other Voices, Other Rooms, and it will surely endure as one of the pre-eminent accounts.
Japan Reclaims Its Tolerant Past
… The editors of Queer Voices from Japan assembled the book to allow Japan’s sexual minorities past and present to speak for themselves. …
Art Critic + Party Boy + Diarist =
ALTHOUGH HE DIED IN 1994, Leo Lerman is still, thanks to the diligent efforts of editor Stephen Pascal, sharing his stories and comments about everyone who was anyone in New York for half a century-and still making us all envious of the frenetic, joyful, art-filled life he led.
Short reviews of Parthian Stations, Blackbird and Wolf: Poems, The Late Show, and My Body.
Packer of Mysteries
SCOTTI HOUSE, the heroine of Vin Packer’s new novel, is a male-to-female (MTF) transsexual, a pre-op whose metamorphosis is fraught with difficulty. In another life she’d earned a PhD from Princeton and worked as a writer and teacher.
Those 1.3 Billion Consumers
CHINA’S VERTIGINOUS RISE as a global economic player is being watched with fascination by those who once dismissed China as a moribund Communist state. This change in perception has triggered an urgent need in the West for the production of knowledge about the country. Over fifty scholarly books have been published since 1990, and severalMore
Long Before Foucault
IN 1976, Jonathan Katz published one of the first comprehensive histories of same-sex sexuality in the United States. His Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A. is credited with legitimating gay history as a viable subject for academic inquiry and providing a necessary starting point for this emerging field of study. LongMore
Jewish American Royalty
… The equestrian life brought Belle to Europe, where she socialized with aristocrats and the wealthy. The long trips abroad gave her the opportunity to respond to sexual awakenings that began with her love for her friend Evangeline Brewster Johnson. …
Short reviews of A Queer History of the Ballet, Valentino: A Dream of Desire, Dog Years, Come Out and Win, and Out Law: What LGBT Youth Should Know about Their Legal Rights.
In Defense of Pecs
PLANTED MODESTLY in the middle of this new study is its pithiest assertion: “Simply put, in urban America, being gay comes with a gym membership.” Of course this is an overstatement, but it expresses the extent to which working out has become a significant part of everyday life for many gay men.
The Lure of the Library
EDITOR KEVIN BENTLEY, wielding the laid-back wisdom of some bohemian writing instructor, assigned the contributors to his latest anthology a deceptively simple task: write a story involving gay sex and good books. Have fun, kids; follow your bliss! His class responded with the memoirs and short stories that comprise Sex by the Book …
Happy Holidays! or The Phoniest ‘War’ of All
… [the]“war on Christmas,” Gibson charged, is really a “war on Christianity.” This theme emerged more explicitly in 2006. Vision America’s Rick Scarborough convened a conference titled “War on Christians and the Values Voters in 2006,” where speakers denounced “moral relativism,” “hedonism” and “Christophobia.” Not surprisingly, several speakers denounced the “gay agenda.” …
Trevor Hailey, Guide to the Castro, Dies at 66
Trevor Hailey, who created and led for sixteen years the internationally known “Cruisin’ the Castro” walking tours, died of a stroke on June 13, 2007, at age 66. A woman of tremendous warmth and enthusiasm, she presented the gay and lesbian history of San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood in a way that was accessible, informative, andMore
The Silent Death of Shanghai’s First Gay Hotline
THE OWNER of Lai Lai’s, Shanghai’s only dance venue for low-income gays, was screaming over the five-piece band. She accused our small contingent of safer sex outreach workers of attracting police scrutiny, telling us to get out of her dancehall and never come back. Dr. Tong Chengliang, sex education specialist and director of HomoHeart, theMore
Sir Ian McKellen on Acting, Truth, and Being Out
REVERED as one of the greatest actors of our times, Sir Ian Murray McKellen never felt he was doing his best work until he came out publicly at the age of 49. A private man who considered it nobody’s business what his sexual orientation was, McKellen kept mum about it until 1988 …