FAMILIAR FACES, HIDDEN LIVES: The Story of Homosexual Men in America Today by
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FAMILIAR FACES, HIDDEN LIVES: The Story of Homosexual Men in America Today

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Among the late Dr. Brown's problems when in 1966 he became New York City's first health services administrator was ""what (to) do about Thomas,"" the man he lived with and loved. What he and others felt forced to do to avoid the repercussions of being publicly identified as homosexuals is only one of the things he treats here. Brown resigned in 1968 due to rumors of an expose of homosexuals in the Lindsay administration; if he'd chosen instead to come out then he ""would probably have had to commit suicide the next day."" But five years later attitudes had changed enough for him to expect and receive some support on going public before 600 fellow physicians. His coming out, reported on network news and the New York Times front page, made Brown an instant spokesman. Part of the reason he made his homosexuality public and went on to write this book was, he acknowledges, to provide a model for young men who had been offered only ""society's absurdly distorted picture of homosexuals"" to identify with. (By implication, effeminacy is a negative characteristic.) With his own story, he offers the experiences of friends and of hundreds of the men who contacted him after his media exposure. Many are middle-aged and professionally successful like Brown, but the rest have lives and careers as varied as non-homosexuals. The anecdotes are related with compassion, though perhaps with too much categorization, often as illustrations for essay-like passages in chapters that range from ""Parents"" and ""Homosexuals in Small Towns,"" to ""Work,"" ""Psychiatry,"" ""Religion,"" and ""The Law."" (The field of psychiatry he found more hostile than either organized religion or the law.) A strong, convincing defense of everyone's right to ""the freedom to love fearlessly.

Pub Date: Oct. 22nd, 1976
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich