cover image Coming Out: An Anthology of International Gay and Lesbian

Coming Out: An Anthology of International Gay and Lesbian

. Pantheon Books, $15 (557pp) ISBN 978-0-679-74054-4

This is a useful but frustrating collection of gay and lesbian nonfiction from around the world. Generally the contributions are of very high quality, but the volume bites off more than it can chew with respect to topics such as ``Oppressions,'' ``New Understandings (Manifestos and Analyses)'' and ``Living Our Lives.'' For example, the issue of lesbian separatism (as elucidated here, this is a decision to break off all contact with men up to and including selling one's LPs by male artists and one's television sets because men appear on TV) is highly charged, and Janet Dixon's passionately argued essay cum memoir is a superb analysis of the central issues, but there should be a wider range of viewpoints offered. The section of manifestos, with its preponderance of leftist jargon, gets tiresome quickly. Still, there are myriad excellent pieces. Detailed reports on repression of gays and lesbians in China and Cuba are grim reminders that the capitalist bloc has never had a monopoly on homophobia. Gerald Hannon's moving and well-researched look at the gay disabled offers compelling evidence that even within the gay community there are prejudices that need to be swept away. A handful of the 43 essays included are excerpted from books available in the U.S., but most of the material will be totally unfamiliar to American readers. Likosky is a librarian for the New York Public Library. (Aug.)