Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940by George Chauncey reveals a thriving gay culture in New York City that existed years prior to World War II. Chauncey points out that the gay male world of the prewar years was remarkably visible and integrated into the straight world in the beginning of the twentieth century (Chauncey, 1994). This helps prove that a gay community in fact did exist prior to the later half of the twentieth century. Chauncey also mentions that after the close of Prohibition, new social norms forced a restructuring of urban gay culture. “The state built a closet in the 1930s and forced gay people to hide in it” (Chauncey, 1994). Chauncey argues that the ascendancy of gay reflected...a reorganization of sexual categories and the transition from an early twentieth-century culture divided into 'queers ' and 'men ' on the basis of gender status to a late twentieth-century culture divided into 'homosexuals '...
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...unity in the United States.
All of the books reviewed offer great insight into the lives of the gay community during the twentieth century. Gay New York helps explain a thriving culture that was believed to have never existed because of the time it was in. Coming Out Under Fire tells the stories of gay men and women who served in the military during World War II and how their challenges brought them together to help create a unified community. Men Like That opens our eyes to a queer society existing in the conservative South that manages to coexist with the rest of society. The Straight State allows us as readers to put things into perspective of our country’s history and the efforts needed to change that status of gay society. All in all, the four books allows modern Americans to get a better understanding of the complicated gay history that exists in this country.
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