GAY MEN: The Sociology of Male Homosexuality by Martin P.--Ed. Levine

GAY MEN: The Sociology of Male Homosexuality

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Alarmed that prevailing stereotypes might spark an assault on male homosexuals comparable to the holocaust launched by the Nazis on Jews, editor Martin Levine wants to set the record straight for the general public: homosexuality is neither sickness nor sin; it's ""a minority's alternative life-style."" The trouble is that too much of his material derives from professional journals and won't reach his target-audience: a 1976 study of women among gay men (Archives of Sexual Behavior) is topically beckoning but defeatingly laden with scientific apparatus, while Levine's own entry, on gay ghettos (American Sociological Association), formally explains why their locations can't be discerned from the kind of data the census collects. An unconvincing attempt to debunk the sorry myths about older homosexuals (The Gerontologist) footnotes the very word ""gay"" for its 1977 readers, but for the most part some familiarity with the subject is taken for granted--especially by the articles reprinted from the gay press, among which are an ironic piece on ""Camp"" along with prescriptions for dealing with racism (flip) and ""Coping with Couplehood"" (first-person earnest). A reconstruction of the bumpy evolution of a Gay Liberation Group at Sacramento State is an accessible and imaginative inclusion; so, too, on a heavier scale, is ""Gay Baths and the Social Organization of Impersonal Sex""--authoritatively presented if as fiat as a mortarboard. ""Coming Out in the Gay World"" emphasizes that the homosexual's identification of himself as such to himself is the meaningful debut: it usually follows ""cognitive change"" based on exposure to new information. But the motley assortment of 21 essays here promises little such change.

Pub Date: April 25th, 1979
Publisher: Harper & Row