The Gang’s All Queer: The Lives of Gay Gang Members

Vanessa R. Panfil. New York Univ, $28 (312p) ISBN 978-1-4798-7002-8
Queer feminist criminology scholar Panfil inserts herself into the underground of an underground, studying the lives and experiences of 48 gang-involved gay men (and 53 gay men overall) in the Columbus, Ohio, metro area. Panfil explains that her study was motivated by a general lack of research in the field of criminology as it pertains to the LGBTQ community. More specifically, she wanted to better understand the experiences of gay men in the hypermasculine context of gang life. The book, which is essentially an academic account of her research, complicates assumptions that “male gang members and active offenders are exclusively heterosexual” and that “gang membership and violence are ways to construct stereotypical masculine and heterosexual identities only.” Panfil reports that the day-to-day experiences of gay men differ depending on whether they’re members of straight gangs, gay gangs, or hybrid gangs. She achieves remarkable access to these young men—her fieldwork included attending social events with her subjects, driving around with them, and going to their homes. The book paves the way for a more in-depth understanding of a marginalized community. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/19/2017
Release date: 08/01/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 312 pages - 978-1-4798-0520-4
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