TAKE OFF THE MASKS by Malcolm Boyd


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An Episcopalian priest (and minor celebrity) comes out of the closet. Actually, Boyd made a public announcement of his homosexuality almost two years ago in Trinity Church, San Francisco, but this candid, not to say lurid, memoir tells the whole story of his agonies and ecstasies in the gay underground. Readers of Are You Running With Me, Jesus? (1965) or any of Boyd's many other books will know what to expect--the direct, intensely personal, rather histrionic voice of a very warm-blooded believer coming to grips with the world. Boyd is as readable as ever, but even those who sympathize with his ordeal may find this book unsettling. For one thing, it is full of intimate ""conjugal"" details that few heterosexuals and no married clergyman would dream of discussing. Boyd claims that ""my sexual development. . . has been a part of my religious experience,"" but he gives this interesting thesis only a brief and unconvincing treatment. He makes no attempt, for example, to square his eager promiscuity with traditional Christian norms of sexual fidelity. Boyd has in fact nothing new to say about homosexuality, he simply wants to celebrate his long-delayed liberation. To be sure, he speaks out for oppressed homosexuals everywhere, but in the end it is Boyd's own character--vigorous, generous, sentimental, self-involved--that is at stake. He takes off the mask, all right, but with an exhibitionistic flair better suited to promoting book sales than the cause of either religion or gay rights.

Pub Date: May 12th, 1978
ISBN: 1590210654
Publisher: Doubleday