Queer Theory’s Heist of Our History
I DO NOT UNDERSTAND why historians and academics, including many gay ones, refuse to believe that homosexuality has been pretty much the same since the beginning of human history, whether it was called homosexuality, sodomy, buggery, or had no name at all. Isn’t it time for us to put a stop to this nonsense …
Smart Family Values
FOR QUITE A FEW YEARS, the rallying cry of those attempting to prevent marriage equality has been that allowing gay marriage will undermine traditional family values. If this is true, traditional family values should be showing substantially frayed edges in Massachusetts, where gay marriages have been taking place for over five years. … It turnsMore
A New Cavafy Is Born
Reviews of C. P. Cavafy: Collected Poems, and C. P. Cavafy: The Unfinished Poems.
On the Recovery of Psychoanalysis: Lawrence D. Mass talks with the author of Sex Changes
THERE ARE TWO great, universally recognized demarcators of the modern gay liberation movement. The first, of course, is the Stonewall Rebellion of 1969. The second took place about five years later-the 1973-74 declassification of homosexuality as a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association.
The New Science of Intersex
Little Ben was an active, well-nourished baby who had had an unusually tumultuous gender history. After the physical exam was completed and the room cleared out, I got to talk to Mr. Jones privately. The Joneses had been told they had a baby boy when he was delivered at a small, rural hospital. But aMore
Disenfranchised Mormons Speak Out
AS THE SUN SET in Riverside, California, on Election Day 2008, Matthew Lawrence anxiously watched as the presidential election returns came in. Trying his best to relax, the 28-year-old Lawrence reclined on his second-story apartment balcony while numbing his nerves with cigarettes and screwdrivers. Time seemed to stand still until a reporter on his 52-inchMore
Out of the Classroom at Princeton
DURING the Spring 2009 semester at Princeton University, my students in “Queer Theory and Politics” and I staged a demonstration on campus against the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), a Princeton-based nonprofit organization whose self-described mission is “to protect marriage and the faith communities that sustain it.”
Narth ‘Study’ a New Low in Junk Science
IN A BRAZEN EFFORT to pre-empt an American Psychological Association report on human sexuality before its scheduled release in August, an anti-gay organization unveiled its own report, which amounts to rubbish in the guise of research. The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality’s (narth) “new” study, “What the Research Shows: narth’s Response toMore
Time to Spring the Final Closet: Gay Clergy
RELIGION, particularly Christianity, is often disparaged by contemporary gay authors, but passing attitudes are sometimes misread as eternal verities. Certainly history is filled with deeply religious gay people whose spirituality reinforced their same-sex affinities. Among gays, particularly gay men, marriage has undergone a massive shift in attitudes during the last forty years, moving from widespreadMore
Harold Norse, Last of the Beat Poets, Dies at 93
HAROLD NORSE, whose iconoclastic poetry explored gay sexuality and identity and earned both wide critical acclaim and a large, enduring popular following, died of natural causes on Monday, June 8, 2009, in San Francisco, just one month before his 93rd birthday.
Leaving Russia: A Personal Odyssey
“ADVENTURE” is a word that was always exciting and special to me, but I never knew I would experience an adventure I could only dream about. An adventure that brought me from Russia to British Columbia, Canada. My first truly bold and independent step in life was choosing to be with the person I love.More
Savannah and the Spirit of Stonewall in 1969
THE YEAR 1969 was when the straight brother of my high school girlfriend introduced me to the two gay men who would change my life forever. Savannah, like New York, had its own gay counter-culture that gathered in a Stonewall-like club known as the Basement, which was located in the basement of the neglected ArmoryMore
India’s Serpentine Path to Equality
While these two books are very different, they do share at least one common theme: Indian families in search of their recent past.
Takes on Tom
ANYONE who’s even casually acquainted with Tom of Finland’s work knows that, for Tom, size was everything. The frolicking gay men in his pictures are always well-muscled, often to absurd proportions. Invariably, they sport either impossibly large bulges in their pants or, better yet, titanic, tree-trunk-thick erections that defy the laws of physics. So it’sMore
Revenge Is Humorous
… the news that [Kate Clinton] had a book coming out this summer piqued my curiosity. I am older now and more comfortable in my skin; Clinton has built a terrific career and fan base that keep her in constant demand. Clearly her material has evolved over the years…
A Writer with Secrets of Sex and Class
Cheever lived a life of pretense-about his sexuality and his gentility. He discovered early on that words were the way to beguile readers, and maybe himself, into believing that his hoped-for world was possible. Blake Bailey’s biography demonstrates how close the connection was between Cheever’s life and his writing. It is a sad book, butMore
C’est la Guerre
NAIRNE HOLTZ WRITES like an old soul in a Generation-X body. Her tales of gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender/genderqueer/label-free characters in various Canadian cities are both timeless and in touch with the Zeitgeist. The wit in her writing is so dry that the reader is likely to notice its pessimism before recognizing its sparkle.
Accentuate the Positive
QUEER THEORY has been criticized on a number of grounds, notably for its difficult language and abstruse categories; in Queer Optimism, Michael D. Snediker charges queer theory with a pervasive negativity and pessimism, a mood that causes its practitioners to focus most of their attention and analysis upon negative emotions rather than affirmative ones.
When Race Mattered
THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE: scene of scintillating literary salons, endless nightlife, after-hours parties, and a lot of drinking, if Richard Bruce Nugent’s writing is any indication, but it was also a sweatshop of intellectual productivity. The Renaissance writers’ often confessional work was at times treated disdainfully during their lifetimes, labeled the “cabaret school” by some literaryMore
How to Be Gay in the 30’s
ONE REASON for the fragmentary nature of much of the gay historical record is the reticence on the part of members of earlier generations to discuss their lives directly. Even in the early decades of the 20th century, relatively few gay men had the opportunity to tell their story for posterity. This makes the publicationMore
Tales from the Trenches
WHEN the U.S. military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy went into effect on March 1, 1994, it sounded like a way for the military to look the other way when it came to lesbians and gays in uniform, a sort of “we just won’t discuss it” edict. But the “don’t ask” clause whereby a superiorMore
Reviews of the books: My Germany, and The Torturer’s Wife & Fool For Love, and the movie, Tal Como Somos.
Tori Amos’ Queerish Sort of Freedom
With its robust eighteen tracks, Abnormally Attracted to Sin is similarly attentive to the battle of the sexes and, by extension, embattled sexualities. “Fire to Your Plain” builds a house of mirrors with a female speaker “watching you watching her play this game” of sexual attraction.
Kushner Revisits Some of Angels’ Themes
Commissioned by the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, The Intelligent Homosexual‘s Guide was designed as the centerpiece of a three-stage “Kushner Celebration,” making full use of the Guthrie’s towering new facility designed by Jean Nouvel. “The play is set in Brooklyn in 2007,” Kushner told Lavender, Minnesota’s GLBT magazine, “and it involves a 75-year-old longshoreman andMore