American Gay is an investigation into how people have been gay or lesbian in America. Murray examines the emergence of gay and lesbian social life, the creation of lesbigay communities, and the forces of resistance that have mobilized and fostered a group identity. Murray also considers the extent to which there is a single "modern" homosexuality and the enormous range of homosexual behaviors, typifications, self-identifications and meanings.
Murray's erudite scholarship challenges prevailing assumptions about gay history and society. He questions conventional wisdom about the importance of World War II and the Stonewall riots for conceiving and challenging shared oppression. He reviews gay complicity in the repathologizing of homosexuality during the early years of the AIDS epidemic. Discussing recent demands for inclusion in the "straight" institutions of marriage and the US military, he concludes that these are new forms of resistance, not attempts to assimilate. Finally, Murray examines racial and ethnic differences in self-representation and identification.
Drawing on two decades of studying gay life in North America, this tour de force of empirical documentation and social theory critically reviews what is known about the emergence, growth, and internal diversity of communities of openly gay men and lesbians. American Gay thus deepens our understanding of the ways individuals construct sexualities through working and living together.
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