Not in This Family
Gays and the Meaning of Kinship in Postwar North America
Publication Year: 2012
Many Americans hold fast to the notion that gay men and women, more often than not, have been ostracized from disapproving families. Not in This Family challenges this myth and shows how kinship ties have been an animating force in gay culture, politics, and consciousness throughout the latter half of the twentieth century.
Historian Heather Murray gives voice to gays and their parents through an extensive use of introspective writings, particularly personal correspondence and diaries, as well as through published memoirs, fiction, poetry, song lyrics, movies, and visual and print media. Starting in the late 1940s and 1950s, Not in This Family covers the entire postwar period, including the gay liberation and lesbian feminist movements of the 1960s and 1970s, the establishment of PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), and the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s. Ending her story with an examination of contemporary coming-out rituals, Murray shows how the personal that was once private became political and, finally, public.
In exploring the intimate, reciprocal relationship of gay children and their parents, Not in This Family also chronicles larger cultural shifts in privacy, discretion and public revelation, and the very purpose of family relations. Murray shows that private bedrooms and consumer culture, social movements and psychological fashions, all had a part to play in transforming the modern family.
Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press
Title Page, Copyright
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, poet Elsa Gidlow, then an elderly woman, met a number of younger lesbians who considered her a lesbian icon. Gidlow had grown up in Quebec but had settled in San Francisco in the 1920s, and she extolled the gay community she came upon there throughout the early part of the century. ‘‘Before every...
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In the fall of 1945, after finishing his tour of duty in Hawaii, a twentyone- year-old William Billings wrote a long and momentous letter to his parents, in Arkansas City, Kansas, where he had grown up. Billings was contemplating coming home and going to college with funds from the G.I. Bill of Rights. But he needed to tell his parents something first. He began...
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Epilogue: Mom, Dad, I’m Gay
By the 1980s and early 1990s, gays were starting to envision themselves as enduring, if contested, family members. Images proliferated of gays revealing their sexuality to their parents, bringing their partners home to meet their parents, and participating in family events. The desire for family integration appeared throughout gay advice literature and...
Publication Year: 2012
Series Title: Politics and Culture in Modern America
Series Editor Byline: Series Editors: Margot Canaday, Glenda Gilmore, Michael Kazin, Thomas J. Sugrue See more Books in this Series
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