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Ebert's faithful attempt to cover a variety of religious/ethnic (Jewish, Italian, black, white, Puerto Rican, converted Buddhist) and occupational backgrounds (from plastic surgeon to AA counselor) in these seventeen penetrating, highly personal interviews, only serves to illustrate the homogeneity of homosexual feeling. Despite recent ""liberation,"" each man retains a certain degree of guilt, shame, frustration, fear, and depression. Struggling--often tearfully--to state his case, one after another recalls negative father relationships, though in Ebert's final interview a hip young psychotherapist discounts lack of paternal love as cause for their sexual preference. There is no evidence that a child needs both a man and a woman to develop ""since all people have both qualities."" Aside from their attraction to the same sex, homosexuals exhibit all the characteristics of straights. Some like intimacy, others don't; some prefer a quite life, others live it up. Denigrating acts of sado-masochism (a phenomenon not limited to gays, we're reminded) may summarize belligerence toward a society that unjustly brands homosexuals as outcasts. The brave who have ""come out"" and paired off with a lover never own up to their employers, so the masquerade continues in public, while at home life a deux is as much a picture of togetherness as any heterosexual marriage. A sympathetic, enlightening study in the aggregate.

Pub Date: May 16th, 1977
Publisher: Macmillan