A place at the table: the gay individual in American society
Homosexuality is being talked about more today than at any other time in human history; the issue of gay rights has reached a moment of truth. Yet many people remain remarkably ill-informed about what homosexuality really is. Why? Partly, says Bruce Bawer in this powerful and provocative book, because of the irrational hatred, fears, and lies of bigots who depict a monolithic "gay lifestyle" that threatens "family values." Partly because of a vocal and highly visible minority of gays who equate homosexuality with promiscuity and political correctness; marching in drag or in leather jockstraps on Gay Pride Day, they, too, seriously misrepresent gay life. And partly because most gays, who lead mainstream, often closeted, lives, have kept a low profile, thus leaving the public debate largely to belligerent extremists.
This moving, eloquent work - both meditation and manifesto - on the nature of homosexuality is Bawer's attempt to set things right. He strips away the misconceptions that underlie homophobia, critically scrutinizes the lockstep mentality of the extreme gay subculture, and defines the complex moral predicament of the gay individual. Most gays, he points out, are as mainstream as most heterosexuals. They have serious careers and committed relationships; many are religious. They run the gamut in politics, cultural taste, social conventions, and erotic preoccupation and experience. Sexual desire figures in their lives in much the same way and to the same degree as in the lives of heterosexuals.
Incisively, Bawer examines such phenomena as the annual Gay Pride March, the coming-out process, and gay marriage, meticulously separating fiction from fact, myth from reality, propaganda from truth. He is keenly perceptive about the depiction of gay experience in contemporary writing. He is particularly concerned about young gays just coming to terms with their sexual orientation who must cope with conflicting prejudices, stereotypes, and imperatives.
At the Lincoln Memorial, on the eve of his inauguration as president, Bill Clinton expressed his hope for a nation in which every American would have "a place at the table." For Bruce Bawer, that vision will become reality only when every gay man and woman becomes a full member of the American family. His book is a passionate plea that we recognize, and celebrate, our common backgrounds and common values - our common humanity.
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Review: Place at the Table: The Gay Individual in American SocietyUser Review - Shinichi - Goodreads
The problem isn't with the writing at all, but the content. It's difficult to be sympathetic to his positions and some parts got downright whiny. Read full review
Review: Place at the Table: The Gay Individual in American SocietyUser Review - Jean Marie Angelo - Goodreads
An important book in its time. We've come a long way. We certainly can take a bolder approach. Read full review
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