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It is easy to forget what it must have been like in "the old days" to grow up with sexual and emotional feelings that were different. This book tells the stories of 11 American gay men who tried to understand their indentities in the years before the modern gay liberation movement began. From the 1920s through the 1960s, from a variety of regions and social classes, the men describe their families, early childhood experiences, "coming-out" in setting unlike the gay neighbourhoods and communities of today, and their current romantic and sexual lives. For some men the military presented the opportunity to explore their personal and social identities; while for others, a chance encounter in a seminary, an accidentally-discovered gay bar, or a hetrosexual marriage provoked them into exploring deeper needs and desires. The variety of experiences illustrates the numerous ways individuals come to know their gay selves in an often unfriendly and hostile world. Interviews with a contemporary elder of the gay movement and a heterosexual psychiatrist, instrumental in argueing against categorizing homosexuality as a mental disorder, supplement the original 11 stories.
Enlightening, sensitive and entertaining the collection will be a land-mark work in the growing fiel dof gay and lesbian writing.