Our Gay Male Roots

By Pela, Robrt L. | The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine), August 15, 2000 | Go to article overview

Our Gay Male Roots


Pela, Robrt L., The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)


PAGE BY PAGE, THESE OUTSPOKEN MEN PUT OUR STORIES ON PAPER FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS

AND A CENTURY OF GAY WRITERS

1996 The gay American humorist as everyman begins his reign with Frank DeCaro's A Boy Named Phyllis, which is quickly followed by David Sedaris's Naked (1997) and Michael Thomas Ford's Lambda Literary Award--winning Alec Baldwin Doesn't Love Me (1998) and That's Mr. Faggot to You (1999).

1993 In nonfiction, Queer in America (1993) makes a gay superstar of writer Michelangelo Signorile and spurs an onslaught of similar manifestos. Highlights include Andrew Sullivan's controversial Virtually Normal (1995).

1993 Post-AIDS authors come of age with stories of upper-middle-class suburban queer life that spawn literary stars like David Leavitt (While England Sleeps, 1993), Christopher Bram (Father of Frankenstein, 1995), and Michael Lowenthal (The Same Embrace, 1998).

1988 Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir by Paul Monette and Robert Ferro's Second Son (arguably the first novel about AIDS) initiate a subgenre of books dealing with the AIDS crisis. Notable examples include David B. Feinberg's Eighty-Sixed, John Weir's The Irreversible Decline of Eddie Socket (both 1989), Monette's Afterlife, and Michael Cunningham's A Home at the End of the World (both 1990).

1984 Dennis Cooper's novels Safe and Closer (1989) help establish the so-called New Narrative Movement, typified in novels about disenfranchised, sometimes violent young gay men. The form is perfected by Scott Heim (Mysterious Skin, 1995) and continues to grow with Craig Curtis's Fabulous Hell (2000).

1979 Felice Picano's The Lure enjoys mainstream success and popularizes the coming-out novel, which is explored further by popular authors Paul Monette (Taking Care of Mrs. Carroll, 1978), Ethan Mordden (the Buddies books of the mid '80s), and William J. Mann (The Men From the Boys, 1997).

1978 Andrew Holleran's Dancer From the Dance is the first post-Stonewall novel to cross over to a mainstream market, followed swiftly by Edmund While's Nocturnes for the King of Naples and Larry Kramer's Faggots.

1977 Novelist Felice Picano founds Sea Horse Press, which goes on to publish books by soon-to-be-famous gay authors Martin Duberman, Dennis Cooper, and Brad Gooch. Alyson Publications is established in Boston in 1980, followed by other small gay presses in the '80s.

1972 The Lord Is My Shepherd and He Knows I'm Gay by the Rev. Troy D. Perry is the first clergy coming-out story, opening the door for similar autobiographies, most notably Malcolm Boyd's Take Off the Masks (1978) and Mel White's Stranger At the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America (1994). …

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