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Lesbians and Gay Men Write About Their Lives Together

edited by Joan Nestle & John Preston

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-06-251055-X

Essays about relationships between lesbians and gay men highlight fertile common ground in the lavender landscape and people it with memorable characters. Lesbian author Nestle (A Restricted Country, not reviewed) and recently deceased gay anthology editor Preston (A Member of the Family, 1992, etc.), themselves close friends, strive to correct the historical record on gay life and co-ed friendships. In contrast to stereotypical accounts depicting lesbians as ``fag hags'' or gay men as sexist pigs, these reflections perhaps signal the arrival of, as one author puts it, a ``new generation of postsexist, coalition-building queers.'' The subjects of these very personal essays are people of all ages, in and out of the closet, pre- and post-Stonewall. Sexy, resonant, and illuminating, their writing often recounts difficult decisions: Philip Gambone's not to father a child with lesbian friends (``The Kid I Already Have''), and Susan Fox Rogers's not to become sexual with her gay male rock- climbing partner after an exhilarating climb (``Golden Bars''). Some pieces are straightforward, like Lisa Davis's paean to her lifelong friend, Paul (``Old Squirrel Head, Mama, and Me''); others surprise, like Robert F. Reid-Pharr's musings on ``Living as a Lesbian'' in a black, gay male body. Other highlights are James Merrett's essay about his marriage to his Latino lover's lesbian sister, who needed a green card (``My Lover and My Wife''), and Nisa Donnelly's freewheeling ``Faggots as Animus.'' Most of the essays have not been published elsewhere—except, disappointingly, those by Paul Monette, Jewelle Gomez, and Cherrie Moraga. Some of the writing is weak, but each story is illuminating, showing lesbians and gay men playing indispensable roles in each other's lives as mentors, muses, best friends, families, even lovers. Richly rewarding.