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International Gay & Lesbian Review

The Stonewall Experiment: A Gay Psychohistory

by Ian Young
abstract

Joseph Hawkins:

THE STONEWALL EXPERIMENT is an exploration of the psychic life of gay men from the Whitman era to the AIDS crisis.

In examining the self-images, motivations, behaviors and belief systems that have shaped this newly developing community, poet and historian Ian Young situates gay history in the broader context of contemporary culture, using examples from street poetry to advertising, from political pamphlets to Hollywood movies, to illustrate the powerful, often unconsciously held, ideas that have influenced the behavior of gay men.

What role have imagination and fantasy played in gay culture? Ideology and philosophy? Or medicine, drugs and organized crime? In exploring these questions, THE STONEWALL EXPERIMENT uncovers an array of myths shared by gay and straight alike—myths of saints and outlaws, animals and assassins, race and contagion, death and rebirth.

Works both classic and neglected, by Wilde, Carpenter, Gerald Heard, Borroughs, Rechy, Larry Kramer, George Whitmore and others are here reconsidered in a new light as prophetic texts.

A unique book, THE STONEWALL EXPERIMENT is both a study of gay life in relation to modern history and an investigation into the psychic origins of a plague.

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International Gay & Lesbian Review
Los Angeles, CA