Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?: Flaming Challenges to Masculinity, Objectification, and the Desire to Conform

Edited by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore. AK (akpress.org), $17.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-84935-088-4
A distinctive collection of essays by gay and transgender activists, performance artists, and scholars embraces the subversive aspects of queer identity and rails against its “sanitized, straight-friendly version.” Some essays are personal observations of lives on the margins, such as Ezra RedEagle Whitman’s attempts to reconcile his homosexuality with Native American conceptions of manliness, or Booh Edouardo’s experiences as an autistic transgender man interacting with mainstream gay peers. Others focus more on general trends in gay culture, such as Michael J. Faris and ML Sugie’s discussion of racial preferences and prejudices on hookup sites, or George Ayala and Patrick Hebert’s examination of the role of the arts in building community among HIV positive men. Some stories are disheartening, like Matthew Blanchard’s reflections on his hospitalization and disfigurement after many years of drug-fueled indiscriminate, unsafe sex. Others are much more hopeful, like Kristen Stoeckeler’s observations on drag queen and king performers and their playful yet serious blurring of the lines between male and female. Just as the battle for LGBTQ civil rights continues, these essays—alternately moving and sprightly, contemplative and outraged—display the power of presenting an alternative to the mainstream: a world of greater tolerance, acceptance, support, and creativity. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 09/12/2011
Release date: 02/01/2012
Genre: Nonfiction
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