Author Helen Boyd is a happily married woman whose husband enjoys sharing her wardrobe - and she has written the first book on transgendered men to focus on their relationships. Traditionally known as cross-dressers, transvestites, or drag queens, men like Helen's husband are a diverse lot who don't always conform to stereotype. Helen addresses every imaginable question concerning the probable and improbable reasons for behavior that still baffle not only "mental health professionals" but the practitioners themselves; the taxonomy of the transgendered and the distinct but overlapping societies of each group; coming out; bisexuality, and homophobia.
She's Not There was one of the first works to present trans experience from the perspective of a literary novelist, opening a door to new understanding of love, sex, gender, and identity. Boylan inspired readers to ask the same questions she asked herself: What is it that makes us---ourselves? What does it mean to be a man, or a woman? How much could my husband, or wife, change--and still be recognizable as the one I love? Boylan's humorous, wise voice helped make She's Not There the first bestselling work by a transgender American--and transformed Boylan into a national spokeswoman for LGBTQ people, their families, and the people that love them. This updated and revised edition also includes a new epilogue from Jenny's wife Grace; it also contains the original afterward by her friend, novelist and Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Russo. "Love will prevail," said Boylan's conservative mother, as she learned about her daughter's identity. She's Not There is the story that helped bring about a world in which that change seems almost possible.
In Coming Out to Play, Robbie takes readers on his incredible journey from terrified teenager to a trailblazing out and proud professional soccer player for the L.A. Galaxy, who has embraced his new identity as a role model and champion for those still struggling with the secrets that keep them from living their dreams.
The acclaimed memoir of queer Cuban author Reinaldo Arenas chronicling his tumultuous yet luminary life, from his impoverished upbringing in Cuba to his imprisonment at the hands of a Communist regime The astonishing memoir by visionary Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas is a book above all about being free, said The New York Review of Books--sexually, politically, artistically. Arenas recounts a stunning odyssey from his poverty-stricken childhood in rural Cuba and his adolescence as a rebel fighting for Castro, through his supression as a writer, imprisonment as a homosexual, his flight from Cuba via the Mariel boat lift, and his subsequent life and the events leading to his death in New York. In what The Miami Herald calls his deathbed ode to eroticism, Arenas breaks through the code of secrecy and silence that protects the privileged in a state where homosexuality is a political crime. Recorded in simple, straightforward prose, this is the true story of the Kafkaesque life and world re-created in the author's acclaimed novels.
Everything and nothing is sacred in Rebecca Brown's essays. Tongue, word, thought, and intellect all conspire in a free language love of living history, divination, sex, solitude and amusement. She is America's only real rock 'n' roll schoolteacher. Lessons layered with profundity and protracted parallels. Where old world religion, Gertrude Stein and Oreo cookies co-exist in an actual and mystic world of wonder.--Thurston Moore, Sonic Youth
If Rebecca Brown's talent for prose were any tighter, it would be a lyric--to a pop standard. An homage--a menage--to America, exposing what's laid bare in a comic tragic redux. I laughed till it hurt.--Van Dyke Parks, Composer/Arranger
Anyone who can get from the Eucharist, to a Necco Wafer, to the goo beween the Oreo wafers, to the Inquisition, to the goo between the legs of excited young women is a distant sibling of mine. She can dash and she can drift and she is not much interested in the really bad parts that might qualify as confession. She likes the float of quotidian living and I like to read the words upon which she floats.--Dave Hickey, author of Air Guitar
The impulse to tell our worst to a bunch of strangers has been fueling American self-hood for 300 years: there's a direct line from the Puritan confession narrative to today's lurid, inescapable exhibitionism. But whose stories are we telling?
This collection of mordant, poignant, and playful essays shows Rebecca Brown at the height of her imaginative and intuitive powers. A wry, incisive social and literary critique is couched in a gonzo mix of pop culture, autobiography, fiction, literary history, misremembered movie plots, and fantasy that plays with the notion of what it is to be "American." Fantastical connections and unlikely meetings span the course of America's cultural history in a manic remix, featuring appearances by Brian Wilson, Gertrude Stein, Nathaniel Hawthorne, the Invisible Man, the Abligensian Crusade, John Wayne, Felix Mendelssohn, JFK, Shane, and God.
Rebecca Brown's books include The Gifts of the Body, The Last Time I Saw You, The Haunted House, Terrible Girls, and The End of Youth.
The Straight State is the most expansive study of the federal regulation of homosexuality yet written. Unearthing startling new evidence from the National Archives, Margot Canaday shows how the state systematically came to penalize homosexuality, giving rise to a regime of second-class citizenship that sexual minorities still live under today.Canaday looks at three key arenas of government control--immigration, the military, and welfare--and demonstrates how federal enforcement of sexual norms emerged with the rise of the modern bureaucratic state. She begins at the turn of the twentieth century when the state first stumbled upon evidence of sex and gender nonconformity, revealing how homosexuality was policed indirectly through the exclusion of sexually "degenerate" immigrants and other regulatory measures aimed at combating poverty, violence, and vice. Canaday argues that the state's gradual awareness of homosexuality intensified during the later New Deal and through the postwar period as policies were enacted that explicitly used homosexuality to define who could enter the country, serve in the military, and collect state benefits. Midcentury repression was not a sudden response to newly visible gay subcultures, Canaday demonstrates, but the culmination of a much longer and slower process of state-building during which the state came to know and to care about homosexuality across many decades. Social, political, and legal history at their most compelling, The Straight State explores how regulation transformed the regulated: in drawing boundaries around national citizenship, the state helped to define the very meaning of homosexuality in America.
A half century ago gay men and lesbians were all but invisible in the media and, in turn, popular culture. With the lesbian and gay liberation movement came a profoundly new sense of homosexual community and empowerment and the emergence of gay people onto the media's stage. And yet even as the mass media have been shifting the terms of our public conversation toward a greater acknowledgment of diversity, does the emerging "visibility" of gay men and women do justice to the complexity and variety of their experience? Or is gay identity manipulated and contrived by media that are unwilling--and perhaps unable--to fully comprehend and honor it?While positive representations of gays and lesbians are a cautious step in the right direction, media expert Larry Gross argues that the entertainment and news media betray a lingering inability to break free from proscribed limitations in order to embrace the complex reality of gay identity. While noting major advances, like the opening of the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookstore--the first gay bookstore in the country--or the rise of The Advocate from small newsletter to influential national paper, Gross takes the measure of somewhat more ambiguous milestones, like the first lesbian kiss on television or the first gay character in a newspaper comic strip.
Allen's work is virtually unique among American writers. It illustrates a deep knowledge of the issues raised by the postmodernists, yet she does not succumb to the playing field, constructing instead her own philosophical direction and aesthetic. --Sarah Hoagland
Jeffner Allen shapes a poetic politics that transforms textual and everyday realities. The surprising, resilient, and transformative windings of lesbian writing and lesbian lives--a poetics of sinuous movement, the turning of women to women--informs these reflections.
"Faeries," photographer Keri Pickett's latest project, welcomes us into a secluded community in the wooded Minnesota sanctuary of Kawashaway, home of the self-proclaimed "radical faeries," a name chosen by a group of mostly gay men to express pride and solidarity in their differences. Here, in this idyllic, remote setting, an annual retreat takes place: a week of camp fires, communal bonding, and gender bending.
Pickett's photographs span six years of these summer gatherings, at which people from across the country join together as friends and family. This group forms a circle of souls, individuals seeking to find their place in a culture that seems to prize individuality but frequently distrusts those who are different. As the book relates through interviews with participants of the gatherings, the faerie community provides for much more than a frolic in the woods. It has become a stabilizing support network--a new radical means of extended family.
Pickett's elegant black-and-white images are intimate records of the spiritual exploration and the unique closeness found far away from everyday life. Her photographs convey comfort and comedy, solace and joy, exuberance and contemplation. The surprising sight of men in drag against the backdrop of a forest lends the volume an unusual visual drama. She captures the poignant gesture of an embrace, the naturalness and beauty of naked bodies, and a gleefully chaotic abundance of fancy frocks. Through these details "Faeries" reveals the cautious and joyful evolution of a community with members across the United States.
An extended text, transcribed and edited from conversations with members of the faeries, accompanies thephotographs. In their own words, they discuss friendship, the process of coming out, magic, religion, and ritual. The voices speak of self-discovery, personal growth, and a sought-after sense of safety--themes gracefully and effectively echoed by Pickett's classically beautiful and often humorous photographs.
For more than a century before gay marriage became a hot-button political issue, same-sex unions flourished in America. Pairs of men and pairs of women joined together in committed unions, standing by each other "for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health" for periods of thirty or forty--sometimes as many as fifty--years. In short, they loved and supported each other every bit as much as any husband and wife.In Outlaw Marriages, cultural historian Rodger Streitmatter reveals how some of these unions didn't merely improve the quality of life for the two people involved but also enriched the American culture. Among the high-profile couples whose lives and loves are illuminated in the following pages are Nobel Peace Prize winner Jane Addams and Mary Rozet Smith, literary icon Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, author James Baldwin and Lucien Happersberger, and artists Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg.