cover image City of Friends City of Friends: A Portrait of the Gay and Lesbian Community in America a Portrait of the Gay and Lesbian Community in America

City of Friends City of Friends: A Portrait of the Gay and Lesbian Community in America a Portrait of the Gay and Lesbian Community in America

Simon LeVay, Author, Elisabeth Nonas, With MIT Press (MA) $67.5 (468p) ISBN 978-0-262-12194-1

The subtitle is overly modest, for the book opens with a discussion of homosexuality throughout history and continues with a treatment of the role of science in interpreting its etiology, including its occurrence in other mammals and even insects. Turning to the U.S., the authors consider the frequency of homosexuality, rejecting Kinsey's figure of 10% as too high; the geographical distribution of the homosexual population; and especially the diversity in that population, which has worked against unity. In the past, the authors note, that unity has been encouraged by homophobia, but they feel that such hatred has been diminishing and that the community must seek a new rallying point. They treat corollary subjects such as occupation, income, education, religion, politics, the arts, ageism and the AIDS crisis. It is difficult to see how the text of this eminently rational survey could be more complete. LeVay is co-founder of the Institute of Gay and Lesbian Education in West Hollywood, Calif.; Nonas teaches fiction writing at UCLA Extension. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Nov.)