American Homo: Community and Perversity by Jeffrey Escoffier

By Jeffrey Escoffier

During this wide-ranging selection of his such a lot influential essays, Escoffier strains the emergence of a homosexual and lesbian political id over the past 4 many years.

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The fundamental ambivalence of homosexuals, which originates in being raised as heterosexuals, makes the discursive process of identity formation central to gay and lesbian politics. The ''ethnic model" of homosexual identity emerged when lesbians and gay men had accumulated enough political and economic resources to contend with other interest groups. In the 1980s, lesbian and gay male communities entered a new period in relation to the homosexual identity developed in the 1970s. Both lesbians and gay men have created a network of institutions that reaches outside their shared sexual preferences; in addition, they have adopted norms of conduct that guide their members, and they have a small degree of power in American society.

In chapter 1, "Sexual Revolution and the Politics of Gay Identity," I sketch the historical sociology of the postwar American sex/gender system and the emergence of homosexual identity. The social disruptions of World War II and postwar adjustments caused important shifts in sex/gender relations within American society. This essay identifies three historical moments: Kinsey's discovery of the gap between sexual norms and behavior; the period in which Keynesian economic policies shaped sharply contrasting policies toward women, sexuality, and reproduction; and the sexual revolution and emergence of the women's and gay movements.

42 Kushner responded to Bersani's criticism by reaffirming the importance of community, but only as a point of leveragea necessary place to stand. < previous page page_25 If you like this book, buy it! next page > < previous page page_26 next page > Page 26 Kushner nevertheless concludes with a flight of utopian fantasy that appears to synthesize queer theory and Bersani's thinking: A politics that seeks to dismantle normalizing categories of gender; that seeks to retrieve a history from violently enforced forgetting; a politics that seeks enfranchisement not only for new kinds of citizens, but for Sexuality itself, that seeks to introduce fucking and sucking, licking and smelling, kink, sleaze, clits and assholes and games people play with them, into the previously chaste Temple of Democracy; and even more daring still, a politics that seeks a synthesis between desire and transformation, that seeks some union between the deepest recesses and cavities of the human heart and body and soul, and the sacrifices and responsibilities building communities and movement, building progress and power entails: This politics had better be capable of extravagance, had better not be tame.

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