Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South

E. Patrick Johnson, Author . Univ. of North Carolina $35 (570p) ISBN 978-0-8078-3209-7

This fascinating—if excessively detailed—oral history subverts countless preconceptions in its illustration of black gay subcultures thriving in just about every imaginable rural and religious milieu in the South. Johnson (Appropriating Blackness ) has an obvious fondness for the 63 men he interviews. Unfortunately, these interviews suffer from his failure to ask follow-up questions to revelatory or troubling responses and his adherence to set questions, for example, his insistence on asking his churchgoing subjects why they are attracted to the choir, keeps him from exploring the more interesting intersections (and contradictions) of their faith and sexuality. Responses are arranged by topics (“Coming Out”; “Love and Relationships”), an organization that provides thematic coherence, but makes it difficult to follow each recurring narrator. Still, the courage and honesty of Johnson’s interviewees humble, and readers will find much to treasure in the stories of Stephen, who adopts the mannerisms of straight classmates because he lacks masculine gay role models; proudly effeminate Lamar, transgendered Chastity and gay men in every state in the South falling in love, growing up and growing old, negotiating and redefining their identities. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 06/09/2008
Release date: 09/01/2008
Compact Disc - 584 pages - 978-0-8078-8692-2
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 584 pages - 978-0-8078-8687-8
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 591 pages - 978-1-4696-0267-7
Paperback - 576 pages - 978-0-8078-7226-0
Open Ebook - 592 pages - 978-0-8078-8273-3
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