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Women's Studies, Gender, and Sexuality > LGBT Studies

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Are Girls Necessary? Cover

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Are Girls Necessary?

Lesbian Writing and Modern Histories

Julie Abraham

“Valuable both for the perspicacity of the brilliant nuggets that turn up in Julie Abraham’s excavation of her subject and for the clear, liberating distinction she makes between ‘lesbian novels’ and ‘lesbian writing.’” —Harvard Gay and Lesbian Review

“The discussions of individual writers in Are Girls Necessary? are uniformly astute and provocative in company with one another.” —Women’s Review of Books

“Forceful and original. An important contribution to lesbian studies.” —Modern Fiction Studies

“Anyone with a poignant interest in lesbian writing—its history and ramifications in the literary world—will welcome the challenge presented in Abraham’s studies.” —Lambda Book Report

“Abraham’s book breaks new ground in its teasing out of the meanings and functions of ‘history’ in lesbian writing. It’s a must-read for scholars in the field—and not just because it has such a great title.” —Lesbian Review of Books

In this analysis of twentieth-century lesbian writing, Julie Abraham offers new readings of pulp novelists alongside high modernists—authors as various as Gertrude Stein, Willa Cather, Mary Renault, and Virgina Woolf—to examine how these writers created new lesbian narratives.

An Argument for Same-Sex Marriage Cover

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An Argument for Same-Sex Marriage

Religious Freedom, Sexual Freedom, and Public Expressions of Civic Equality

Emily R. Gill

The relationship between religious belief and sexuality as personal attributes exhibits some provocative comparisons. Despite the nonestablishment of religion in the United States and the constitutional guarantee of free exercise, Christianity functions as the religious and moral standard in America. Ethical views that do not fit within this consensus often go unrecognized as moral values. Similarly, in the realm of sexual orientation, heterosexuality is seen as the yardstick by which sexual practices are measured. The notion that "alternative" sexual practices like homosexuality could possess ethical significance is often overlooked or ignored.

In her new book, An Argument for Same-Sex Marriage, political scientist Emily R. Gill draws an extended comparison between religious belief and sexuality, both central components of one’s personal identity. Using the religion clause of the First Amendment as a foundation, Gill contends that, just as US law and policy ensure that citizens may express religious beliefs as they see fit, it should also ensure that citizens may marry as they see fit. Civil marriage, according to Gill, is a public institution, and the exclusion of some couples from a state institution is a public expression of civic inequality.

An Argument for Same-Sex Marriage is a passionate and timely treatment of the various arguments for and against same-sex marriage and how those arguments reflect our collective sense of morality and civic equality. It will appeal to readers who have an interest in gay and lesbian studies, political theory, constitutional law, and the role of religion in the contemporary United States.

Ask and Tell Cover

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Ask and Tell

Gay and Lesbian Veterans Speak Out

Steve Estes

Drawing on more than 50 interviews with gay and lesbian veterans, Steve Estes charts the evolution of policy toward homosexuals in the military over the past 65 years, uncovering the ways that silence about sexuality and military service has affected the identities of gay veterans. These veteran voices--harrowing, heroic, and on the record--reveal the extraordinary stories of ordinary Americans, men and women who simply did their duty and served their country in the face of homophobia, prejudice, and enemy fire. Far from undermining national security, unit cohesion, or troop morale, Estes demonstrates, these veterans strengthened the U.S. military in times of war and peace. He also examines challenges to the ban on homosexual service, placing them in the context of the wider movement for gay rights and gay liberation. ###Ask and Tell# is an important compilation of unheard voices, offering Americans a new understanding of the value of ###all# the men and women who serve and protect them.

Atlantis Cover

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Three Tales

Samuel R. Delany

Wesleyan University Press has made a significant commitment to the publication of the work of Samuel R. Delany, including this recent fiction, now available in paperback. The three long stories collected in Atlantis: three tales -- "Atlantis: Model 1924," "Erik, Gwen, and D. H. Lawrence's Aesthetic of Unrectified Feeling," and "Citre et Trans" -- explore problems of memory, history, and transgression.

Winner of both the Hugo and Nebula awards, and Guest of Honor at the 1995 World Science Fiction Convention in Glasgow, Delany was won a broad audience among fans of postmodern fiction with his theoretically sophisticated science fiction and fantasy. The stories of Atlantis: three tales are not SF, yet Locus, the trade publication of the science fiction field, notes that the title story "has an odd, unsettling power not usually associated with mainstream fiction."

A writer whose audience extends across and beyond science fiction, black, gay, postmodern, and academic constituencies, Delany is finally beginning to achieve the broader recognition he deserves.

Autobiography of My Hungers Cover

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Autobiography of My Hungers

Rigoberto González

Rigoberto González, author of the critically acclaimed memoir Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa, takes a second piercing look at his past through a startling new lens: hunger.
            The need for sustenance originating in childhood poverty, the adolescent emotional need for solace and comfort, the adult desire for a larger world, another lover, a different body—all are explored by González in a series of heartbreaking and poetic vignettes.
            Each vignette is a defining moment of self-awareness, every moment an important step in a lifelong journey toward clarity, knowledge, and the nourishment that comes in various forms—even "the smallest biggest joys" help piece together a complex portrait of a gay man of color who at last defines himself by what he learns, not by what he yearns for.

Barney Frank Cover

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Barney Frank

The Story of America's Only Left-Handed, Gay, Jewish Congressman

Stuart Weisberg

In a survey conducted by Washingtonian magazine, Barney Frank was rated the smartest, funniest, and most eloquent member of Congress. A mainstay in the House of Representatives since 1981, he has come to be known for his talent as a legislator, his zeal for verbal combat, his imposing intellect, and a quick wit that both disarms and entertains other lawmakers. Most recently, as chair of the Financial Services Committee, he was instrumental in crafting a compromise bill to stem the tide of home mortgage foreclosures, as well as the subsequent $700 billion “rescue plan.” Based on interviews with over 150 people, including more than thirty hours with Frank himself, this biography reconstructs for the first time his life and career, from his working-class childhood in Bayonne, New Jersey, to his years at Harvard and in Boston politics, through his rise to national prominence. Stuart Weisberg captures Frank in all his quirkiness, irreverence, and complexity. He also examines his less appealing side—his gruff exterior, his legendary impatience, his aversion to wasting time. Weisberg reveals the pressure Frank has felt as the most prominent openly gay politician in the United States, one whose career was nearly derailed by a highly publicized sex scandal involving a male prostitute. Above all, this book shows Frank to be a superb legislator—a pragmatic politician who has dedicated his career to pursuing an unabashedly liberal agenda and whose depth of intellect and sense of humor have made him one of the most influential and colorful figures in Washington.

Be Not Deceived Cover

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Be Not Deceived

The Sacred and Sexual Struggles of Gay and Ex-Gay Christian Men

Michelle Wolkomir

In Be Not Deceived, Michelle Wolkomir explores the difficult dilemma that gay Christians face in their attempts to reconcile their religious and sexual identities. She introduces the ideologies and practices of two alternative and competing ministries that offer solutions for Christians who experience homosexual desire. One organization-the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches-believes that God made people gay to suit divine purposes. In contrast, Exodus International preaches that homosexuality is a sin and a symptom of disordered psychological development-one that can be cured through redemptive prayer. Through careful analysis of the groups' ideologies, interactions, and symbolic resources, Be Not Deceived goes far beyond the obvious differences between the ministries to uncover their similarities, namely that both continue to define heterosexuality as the normative and dominant lifestyle.

Before Intimacy Cover

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Before Intimacy

Asocial Sexuality in Early Modern England

Daniel Juan Gil

Before the eighteenth-century rise of the ideology of intimacy, sexuality was defined not by social affiliations but by bodies. In Before Intimacy, Daniel Juan Gil examines sixteenth-century English literary concepts of sexuality that frame erotic ties as neither bound by social customs nor transgressive of them, but rather as “loopholes” in people’s experiences and associations. 

Engaging the poems of Wyatt, Sidney’s Astrophil and Stella, Spenser’s Amoretti and The Faerie Queene, and Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida and the Sonnets, Gil demonstrates how sexuality was conceived as a relationship system inhabited by men and women interchangeably—set apart from the “norm” and not institutionalized in a private or domestic realm. Going beyond the sodomy-as-transgression analytic, he asserts the existence of socially inconsequential sexual bonds while recognizing the pleasurable effects of violating the supposed traditional modes of bonding and ideals of universal humanity and social hierarchy. 

Celebrating the ability of corporeal emotions to interpret connections between people who share nothing in terms of societal structure, Before Intimacy shows how these works of early modern literature provide a discourse of sexuality that strives to understand status differences in erotic contexts and thereby question key assumptions of modernity. 

Daniel Juan Gil is assistant professor of English at TCU.

Between the Sheets, in the Streets Cover

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Between the Sheets, in the Streets

Queer, Lesbian, Gay Documentary

Chris Holmlund

From film festivals to university campuses, from private homes to first-run theaters, people everywhere are viewing and discussing gay, lesbian, queer, bisexual, and transgender films and videos. Between the Sheets, In the Streets considers these videos and films, testifying to the unavoidable connections between sexuality (the sheets) and activism (the streets) for all who identify as gay, lesbian, or queer in the 1990s.

This first collection of essays to focus exclusively on queer, lesbian, and gay documentary argues that documentary films and videos speak with a sense of political and social urgency, acting as testaments to the importance of reclaiming history and asserting the importance of these points of view. Among the topics discussed are representations of young queers on such shows as MTV’s The Real World; pre-Stonewall films; portrayals of lesbians and aging; video activism in Oregon and the South; and the works of Derek Jarman, Su Friedrich, Cheryl Dunye, and Sadie Benning. A range of films and videos is examined, including Strangers in Good Company, Paris Is Burning, Juggling Gender, Silverlake Life, and Without You I’m Nothing.

Tracing an exhilarating range of perspectives and subject positions, Between the Sheets, In the Streets is an essential guide to current developments in queer, lesbian, and gay documentary.

Contributors: Chris Cagle, Brown U; Linda Dittmar, U of Massachusetts, Boston; Lynda Goldstein, Pennsylvania State U, Wilkes-Barre Campus; Ronald Gregg, Drake U; Janet Jakobsen, U of Arizona; Lynda McAfee, New York Public Library; Kathleen McHugh, U of California, Riverside; Beverly Seckinger, U of Arizona; Marc Siegel, UCLA; Chris Straayer, Tisch School of the Arts; Erika Suderburg, U of California, Riverside; Thomas Waugh, Concordia U, Montreal; Justin Wyatt, U of North Texas.

Bisexuality and the Challenge to Lesbian Politics Cover

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Bisexuality and the Challenge to Lesbian Politics

Sex, Loyalty, and Revolution

Paula Rust

The subject of bisexuality continues to divide the lesbian and gay community. At pride marches, in films such as Go Fish, at academic conferences, the role and status of bisexuals is hotly contested.

Within lesbian communities, formed to support lesbians in a patriarchal and heterosexist society, bisexual women are often perceived as a threat or as a political weakness. Bisexual women feel that they are regarded with suspicion and distrust, if not openly scorned. Drawing on her research with over 400 bisexual and lesbian women, surveying the treatment of bisexuality in the lesbian and gay press, and examining the recent growth of a self-consciously political bisexual movement, Paula Rust addresses a range of questions pertaining to the political and social relationships between lesbians and bisexual women.

By tracing the roots of the controversy over bisexuality among lesbians back to the early lesbian feminist debates of the 1970s, Rust argues that those debates created the circumstances in which bisexuality became an inevitable challenge to lesbian politics. She also traces it forward, predicting the future of sexual politics.

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