Browsing: Subcultures of Gaydom

September – October, 2010

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A review of The Harvard Psychedelic Club: How Timothy Leary, Ram Dass, Huston Smith, and Andrew Weil Killed the Fifties and Ushered in a New Age for America by Don Lattin.

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Takes on the news of the day.

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WHAT DOES a gay waiter with a soon-to-be transgendered lover have in common with an über-heterosexual writer? Well, as Dwayne Raymond points out in his accomplished memoir Mornings with Mailer, a lot more than one would think.

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IN 1974, amid the spirit of the civil rights revolution, the goals of the gay and lesbian liberation movement seemed boundless. U.S. Representatives Ed Koch and Bella Abzug of New York filed the Equality Act of 1974, which sought full civil rights protections for “gay men, lesbians, unmarried persons and women.” The bill called for what the black community had achieved a decade earlier with the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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Nights Beneath the Nation by Denis Kehoe
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THIS WELL-RESEARCHED historical novel alternates between Dublin in the early 1950’s and late 1990’s, following a gay man as he recalls his youthful adventures and the tragic series of events that forced him to flee for America. Daniel Ryan enters Dublin from his country home, captivated by the excitement and opportunities available in Ireland’s capital.

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REV. FRED PHELPS gives good curse. Famous for his anti-gay picketing of funerals and other sensational venues, he admits that his vibrant colored signs with provocative epithets (notably “God Hates Fags”) are intended to “get inside people’s heads.” In October, he will receive what he most seeks—national publicity—during an oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court. The case is critical, and so is an understanding of this man, however tempting it is to dismiss him as a self-parody of bigoted ignorance.

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Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man: A Memoir by Bill Clegg
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Reading Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man can be a toe-curling experience, and you may find yourself rushing from page to page, not because it isn’t a good story (it is), but because the life that Clegg is describing is often painfully hard to endure.

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LAST YEAR marked the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of the Radical Faeries. Since 1979, the Radical Faeries have developed into a vital international gay spirituality and consciousness movement. Along with the AIDS Quilt, the Radical Faeries is arguably the most important ongoing grassroots subculture in the GLBT world at large.

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