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Growing Up Before Stonewall: Life Stories of Some Gay Menby Nardi Peter
Synopses & Reviews
Growing Up Before Stonewall tells the stories of 11 American gay men who tried to make sense of their identities in the years before the gay liberation movement. These men provide fascinating accounts of what it was like to negotiate their desires within a social and psychological context that was virulently hostile to homosexuality. Coming from a variety of regions and social classes in the 1920s through the 1960s, these men describe their families, their early childhood sexual encounters, the experience of coming out as well as their current romantic and sexual lives.
The variety of experiences recorded in this book illustrates the numerous ways individuals come to know their gay selves in an often hostile world. For some of the men, the military presented the opportunity to explore their personal and social identities. For others a chance encounter in a seminary, an accidentally-discovered gay bar or heterosexual marriage provoked them into exploring their hidden identities. Their life stories reveal the complex ways in which sexuality is socially constructed and also provide remarkable insights into contemporary issues of gay and lesbian identity.
To better understand the way homosexuality was viewed before Stonewall, the authors present a history of how psychiatry and psychology portrayed homosexuality as a mental disorder, along with a history of what gay people experienced in their social and political everyday lives. Growing Up Before Stonewall also includes interviews with a leader of the gay movement and a heterosexual psychiatrist, both were instrumental in arguing against the categorization of homosexuality as a mental disorder.
Discussing the complexity of the sexual and social identities of gay men in a society that was far less tolerant of homosexuality, these biographies will prove enlightening, moving and entertaining.
This book tells the stories of 11 American gay men who tried to make sense of their identities in the years before the modern gay movement began. In their own words, these men recollect fascinating accounts of what it was like negotiate their desires within a social and psychological context in which homosexuality was marginalized. The editors carefully situate the lifestories in US culture before Stonewall and skillfully raises the issues and problems in presenting such stories.
Eleven American gay men, from a wide variety of regions and social classes in the 1920s through the 1960s, give their accounts of trying to make sense of their identities in the years before the gay liberation movement--a time when society was far less tolerant of homosexuality than it is today. Illustrations.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -175) and index.
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