The Meaning of 'Gay'

The Meaning of 'Gay' : Interaction, Publicity, and Community Among Homosexual Men in 1960s San Francisco

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Description

The Meaning of Gay traces the conflicts among San Francisco's gay men and with the dominant society, describing the broad range of meanings they came to ascribe onto 'gayness' between 1962 and 1972. Combining historical method, symbolic interaction, and the concerns of John Dewey's pragmatism, the book explains why gay men created the meanings they did and challenges the prevailing view that the 1960s was merely the transformation of an assimilationist gay politic into a radical one.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 354 pages
  • 152.4 x 223.52 x 25.4mm | 476.27g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 0739115987
  • 9780739115985

About J. Todd Ormsbee

J. Todd Ormsbee is assistant professor of American Studies at San Jose State University.show more

Review quote

Freshly theorized through John-Dewey pragmatism and historically grounded in rigorous archival research, J. Todd Ormsbee delivers a compelling story about gay-and-lesbian politics in 1960s and early-1970s San Francisco. The Meaning of Gay amply demonstrates the complex politics-sometimes uncertain and often contentious-that a specific community engaged in order to claim justice for their queer identities; indeed, the stakes were high and directly affected their lives. Undoubtedly, the political stakes The Meaning of Gay recounts still resonate to this day. -- David A. Gerstner, City University of New York Ormsbee leads us on a skillfully documented journey through 1960s San Francisco, as gay men individually and collectively struggled to transform how they and others viewed their sexual identities and practices. He offers a detailed mapping of the contested landscape of private and public gay sexuality culminating in the first gay pride march in 1972-a moment of celebration and spectacle that paved a path into the present. Anyone interested in U.S. cultural history should read this book. -- Joane Nagel, University of Kansas Ormsbee provides a rich ethnographic account of gay cultural history in that embryonic period before Stonewall. His claims about the complexity of the gay male community experience are important not only for how we understand culture as a developmental and ongoing process of contested meaning-making, but also as a bracing tonic to those in the social sciences who clamor for parsimony at the expense of recognizing the complicated nuances comprising human realities... -- Stephen M. Engel, author of The Unfinished Revolution: Social Movement Theory and the Gay and Lesbian Movement Ormsbee provides a rich ethnographic account of gay cultural history in that embryonic period before Stonewall. His claims about the complexity of the gay male community experience are important not only for how we understand culture as a developmental and ongoing process of contested meaning-making, but also as a bracing tonic to those in the social sciences who clamor for parsimony at the expense of recognizing the complicated nuances comprising human realities. -- Stephen M. Engel, author of The Unfinished Revolution: Social Movement Theory and the Gay and Lesbian Movementshow more

Table of contents

Chapter 1 Introduction: Homosexuality and Meaning Chapter 2 Sickness and Sin: Gay Men Confront Symbolic Domination Chapter 3 The Origins and Values of a Gay Male Public Chapter 4 Conflict over the Ends and Means of Gay Counter-Publicity Chapter 5 The Struggle for a Gay Community Chapter 6 The Meaning of Gay Sex: Intimacy, Love, and Friendship Chapter 7 Gay Masculinities Chapter 8 The Meaning of 'Gay' Chapter 9 Conclusion: Meaning, Desire, and the Future of 'Gay'show more

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