Browsing: Summer Sex Issue

July – August, 2005

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MANY YOUNG GAY MEN are perceived by themselves and others as “whores,” but it’s a label that other gay youth are consciously rejecting. An earlier generation of gay men embraced sexual liberation as the driving goal of gay liberation itself, and found it empowering to be a “whore” or a “slut.” “Sexual objectification is a focus of our quest for freedom,” declared “A Gay Manifesto” of the 1970’s (by Carl Wittman). But gay youth culture has changed dramatically since then. Gay young people in general have veered toward a more heterosexual definition of their sexual relations. Few would agree with the sentiment expressed in another manifesto of early Gay Liberation, that of Martha Shelley in her classic essay “Gay is Good”: “straight roles stink.”

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A recent study published in the journal Child Development found that, in terms of psychosocial health, school behavior, and romantic relationships, teens with two mothers develop as well as those raised by heterosexual parents. As a high school teacher and the daughter of same-sex parents, my academic assessment of this finding is a resounding “Duh!” …

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JEAN COCTEAU proclaimed friendship to be his only politics. “I would rather be celebrated for constancy of the heart than for any doctrine of the mind,” he remarked in his essay “On Friendship.” Cocteau considered friendship to be an art and equated it with the “fellow feeling” of Walt Whitman. “It continually corrects itself, sets itself aright, and avoids the wars of love. Friendship maintains its balance so that we can maintain ours in it.” …

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AS RESEARCH for Edge of Midnight: The Life of John Schlesinger, author William J. Mann befriended the famed film director and became his documentarian during the last two years of Schlesinger’s life as a stroke patient in Palm Springs. As a result, there is a loose, conversational tone to the book that places it somewhere between biography and memoir. …

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Takes on news of the day.

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IN CHOOSING to show some of his own skin for the cover of his essays now collected as Beneath the Skin, John Rechy remains the consummate rebel. He appears shirtless and sexy with a cigarette dangling from the lips. …

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ARTHUR DONG makes documentary films that examine anti-gay attitudes in American culture. His open-ended approach encourages viewers to situate themselves in relation to the issues he investigates, which include homophobia and racism, among others. …

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CIRCUIT PARTIES are weekend-long, erotically-charged, drug-fueled gay dance events held in resort towns across the country. There’s at least one major circuit party every month somewhere in the U.S.-New York’s “Black Party,” South Beach’s “White Party,” Montreal’s “Black and Blue Party,” and so on-and people travel far and wide to take part. …

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THE SUBTITLE of this wonderful new glimpse into the lives of gay, lesbian, and bisexual writers and their friends is an accurate description of its contents. …

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