Who's Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History: From World War II to the Present Day

Who's Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History: From World War II to the Present Day

Who's Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History: From World War II to the Present Day

Who's Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History: From World War II to the Present Day

Synopsis

Who's Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History: From World War II to the Present Day provides a comprehensive modern biographical survey of homosexuality in the Western world. Among those included are:* Controversial political activists - Peter Tatchell; Guy Hocquenghem; Harvey Milk* Pop icons - David Bowie; k d lang; Boy George* Groundbreaking artists, writers and filmmakers - Pier Paolo Pasolini; Derek Jarman; David Hockney* Intellectuals who have shaped and changed the modern understanding of sexuality - Michel Foucault; Simone de Beauvoir; Alfred Kinsey* Over 500 entries - clear, informative and enjoyable to read - build up a superbly thorough overview of gay and lesbian life in our time.

Excerpt

At the end of the twentieth century, it seems a not inappropriate time to put together a Who's Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History covering the period from 1945 to the present.

First, and probably most importantly, this relates to the massive - and in the long sweep of human history, relatively rapid - changes that have occurred in the Western world in the situation of those with same-sex desires. We have only to look back a generation or two to see the magnitude of these changes: anyone born prior to World War II in most European countries and their overseas offshoots was born into a world where their homosexual orientation was usually seen as a crime, or a medical pathology, and - where Judeo-Christian values held sway - a sin. In contrast, for those born in the last several decades, the emphasis in Western pluralistic societies on human rights has seen (at least in an increasing number of countries) decriminalisation of previously proscribed sexual activity, and the passing of anti-discrimination and anti-vilification laws to protect gays and lesbians, as well as the extension, to them, of relationship and immigration rights. The great festivals that now annually draw hundreds of thousands of participants, from the Europride celebrations to the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, would have been unthinkable even a generation ago. So too would have been the proliferation of bars and saunas, bookshops selling gay 'classics' and erotica, and the hundreds of other services that openly and loudly hawk their wares in gay 'ghettos' from the Castro to the Marais.

Such dramatic changes did not occur in a vacuum, and there are a variety of reasons for this changed situation, not least being the work of homophile activists working to change both laws and attitudes.

Activism for lesbian and gay rights, although it has a long history, has only really been a 'success story' for the post-World War II era, and here it ties in with the emergence of a range of 'new social movements' and their advocates. Partly emerging from the counter-cultural revolution, and linked with such developments as second-wave feminism, the anti-war and anti-nuclear movements, black power and anti-colonial movements (including the American civil rights movement and anti-apartheid efforts in South Africa) and the

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