Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World 1890-1940 by George ChaunceyMy full review, as well as my other thoughts on reading, can be found on my blog.
Written in response to the notion that the closet always has existed for American gay men and lesbians, as well as the concept that gender and sexuality always have been distinct domains of personhood, Chaunceys Gay New York argues that gay people were not isolated, invisible, and self-hating during the first decades of the twentieth century. Instead, the scholar claims, they reterritorialized New York in order to construct a vibrant gay city in the midst of (and often invisible to) the normative city. Only after WWII, when what Chauncey calls homo-heterosexual binarism became hegemonic across the nation, were they forced into hiding inside of a closet newly constructed by the state, until the advent of the modern gay rights movement in 1969 made possible liberation and re-entrance into the public sphere.
The ethnography is divided into three parts, each of equal interest to the lay reader. The first part differentiates male sexual practices and identities in the early twentieth century from those that became hegemonic after WWII. Chauncey brilliantly details how a diverse range of gender/sexual identities co-existed with each other within New York during the period, all the while tracking how homosexual and heterosexual—the two sexual identities that would overpower and erase the rest after the war—rose to prominence in white middle-class society. The second part shifts from describing the gender/sexual identities of pre-war NYC to exploring the ways in which a gay male subculture first emerged in the city. Chauncey analyzes the major facets of that world, from the ways in which authorities policed it to those in which its members found housing, ate, and socialized with each other. The last part explores the politics of the subculture, and the books conclusion overviews its recession from the public sphere during the 1930s and its erasure from historical memory after WWII.
The book is a cornerstone of gay history, and for good reason. It convincingly demonstrates that a subculture of gender/sexual deviants flourished in New York before WWII, contrary to the claim that such lives were characterized by isolation, invisibility, and self-hatred until 1969; it also draws attention to the historicity of the split between gender and sexuality, deconstructing the idea that the two have functioned as separate domains of personhood across time and space. The books sole flaw is that Chauncey self-admittedly only focuses on men in it, as he felt it would have been practically impossible to have given both men and women the attention they deserved in a single study. Given how dense the book is, he seems to have been right, but his limited focus necessarily narrows the books scope of insight.
Gay Nights Out - NYC
Gay New York City
Meet at the arch at Washington Square Park and cruise through eons of queer history in the nexus of the West Village. Along with an expert queer tour guide, you'll journey through the gay nexus's history back to the s , indulge in a complimentary cone at Big Gay Ice Cream, hit up bars like Marie's Crisis and the Stonewall, and learn about the continued battles that queer activists face in NYC and beyond. Now composer, pianist and performer Lance Horne hosts his own wild night of singing, drinking and dancing, strip-teasing and bad behavior at the East Village nightlife hub Club Cumming. Expect advanced show-tune geekery and appearances by Broadway stars looking to get down by the piano. Plan on sleeping in on Tuesday.
Mid-Range | Guesthouses | Bars | Dance Clubs | Cruise Clubs | Saunas | Culture | Shops | LGBT+ Attractions | Gay Tours | Shows | Gay Beach | Great-value hotels in New York City for gay travellers. Check out our list of the most popular gay bars in New York City.
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No guesswork here. Gay New York offers every kind of experience for every kind of visitor. It can be an overwhelming city, but with the proper planning, New York will be an incredible experience. The Big Apple is one of the hottest destinations for gay singles, couples and families alike. With something for everyone, it's simply not possible to spend a moment bored in New York City. With destinations and activities for every budget and interest, a gaycation in New York, New York is sure to provide new and interesting experiences to remember.