How to Be Gay

How to Be Gay

eBook - 2012
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A pioneer of LGBTQ studies dares to suggest that gayness is a way of being that gay men must learn from one another to become who they are. The genius of gay culture resides in some of its most despised stereotypes--aestheticism, snobbery, melodrama, glamour, caricatures of women, and obsession with mothers--and in the social meaning of style.
Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, c2012
ISBN: 9780674067516
0674067517
Characteristics: 1 online resource (viii, 549 p.) : ill

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QueenBoadicea Aug 30, 2015

Unfortunately named after his class, Mr. Halperin was stuck with a book whose title makes it seem like a primer about all things homosexual. It is but it isn’t—a contradiction much like homosexuality itself. Using Joan Crawford’s Oscar-winning role in “Mildred Pierce” as inspiration and springboard, Mr. Halperin attempts to lay out the implications of homosexuality, the significance, usage and need for campiness, drag queens, for adoration of all things considered suspect and not-quite manly. He ruminates ruefully on how other people thought they could teach his class better than he could because—even though he himself was gay—he just wasn’t “gay enough”. So what did that even mean? Was he the homosexual equivalent of an Oreo cookie? What constitutes gayness (Gaiety? Gayhood?)? Mr. Halperin dug into the subject with all the seriousness of a dedicated educator. While the prose is dense, almost heavy at times with sesquipedalianism, each chapter engagingly explores a different aspect of homosexuality, its impact on the world and the world’s impact on it. Dating, politics, socializing, dress, manners, culture, subculture—all come in for scrutiny under Mr. Halperin’s probing eye. It’s a serious book and not meant for instruction (it’s nothing like “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”). It reads like it’s part of his class and therefore not something meant to be breezed through like a comic book. If you ever wanted a serious look at homosexuality—its past, present and possible future—this book is a good place to start.

FindingJane Aug 30, 2015

Unfortunately named after his class, Mr. Halperin was stuck with a book whose title makes it seem like a primer about all things homosexual. It is but it isn’t—a contradiction much like homosexuality itself. Using Joan Crawford’s Oscar-winning role in “Mildred Pierce” as inspiration and springboard, Mr. Halperin attempts to lay out the implications of homosexuality, the significance, usage and need for campiness, drag queens, for adoration of all things considered suspect and not-quite manly. He ruminates ruefully on how other people thought they could teach his class better than he could because—even though he himself was gay—he just wasn’t “gay enough”. So what did that even mean? Was he the homosexual equivalent of an Oreo cookie? What constitutes gayness (Gaiety? Gayhood?)? Mr. Halperin dug into the subject with all the seriousness of a dedicated educator. While the prose is dense, almost heavy at times with sesquipedalianism, each chapter engagingly explores a different aspect of homosexuality, its impact on the world and the world’s impact on it. Dating, politics, socializing, dress, manners, culture, subculture—all come in for scrutiny under Mr. Halperin’s probing eye. It’s a serious book and not meant for instruction (it’s nothing like “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”). It reads like it’s part of his class and therefore not something meant to be breezed through like a comic book. If you ever wanted a serious look at homosexuality—its past, present and possible future—this book is a good place to start.

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