Read Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?: Flaming Challenges to Masculinity, Objectification, and the Desire to Conform by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore Online


Gay culture has become a nightmare of consumerism, whether it's an endless quest for Absolut vodka, Diesel jeans, rainbow Hummers, pec implants, or Pottery Barn. Whatever happened to sexual flamboyance and gender liberation, an end to marriage, the military, and the nuclear family? As backrooms are shut down to make way for wedding vows, and gay sexual culture morphs intoGay culture has become a nightmare of consumerism, whether it's an endless quest for Absolut vodka, Diesel jeans, rainbow Hummers, pec implants, or Pottery Barn. Whatever happened to sexual flamboyance and gender liberation, an end to marriage, the military, and the nuclear family? As backrooms are shut down to make way for wedding vows, and gay sexual culture morphs into “straight-acting dudes hangin’ out,” what are the possibilities for a defiant faggotry that challenges the assimilationist norms of a corporate-cozy lifestyle?Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots? challenges not just the violence of straight homophobia but the hypocrisy of mainstream gay norms that say the only way to stay safe is to act straight: get married, join the military, adopt kids! Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore reinvokes the anger, flamboyance, and subversion once thriving in gay subcultures in order to create something dangerous and lovely: an exploration of the perils of assimilation; a call for accountability; a vision for change. A sassy and splintering emergency intervention!Called "startlingly bold and provocative" by Howard Zinn, and described as "a cross between Tinkerbell and a honky Malcolm X with a queer agenda" by The Austin Chronicle, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore is undoubtedly one of America's most outspoken queer critics. She is the author of two novels, including, most recently, So Many Ways to Sleep Badly, and is the editor of four nonfiction anthologies, including Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity and That’s Revolting! Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation....

Title : Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?: Flaming Challenges to Masculinity, Objectification, and the Desire to Conform
Author :
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ISBN : 9781849350884
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 212 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?: Flaming Challenges to Masculinity, Objectification, and the Desire to Conform Reviews

  • Shay Gabriel
    2019-06-12 03:33

    Some of the essays were great. Many were thought-provoking. Some of them, as with Sycamore's other book ("That's Revolting!"), were filled with a misguided nostalgia for "the good old days" - you know, when gay bars were run by the mafia, queer people faced more serious repression, etc. There's also - and I'm writing as a gay man who works to fight economic injustice with poor mothers - a very disconcerting anti-child stance that permeates a few of the essays.And can we admit that just like there's a problem with objectification in gay culture, there's also a problem with drugs and drinking? I get what Sycamore and her fellow authors are trying to do, I really do, and I support the general thrust of it — but we can have a revolutionary gay politic that doesn't revolve around lifestyle choices (particularly unhealthy or exploitative ones - and don't clutch your cock rings, I'm not talking about sex).

  • J.P.
    2019-06-04 19:43

    Being gay isn't a choice, but have you ever wondered if there's a different way of living your gay life? One not prescribed by The Advocate and Out and a white, fratboy-esque, dude pornography? Well, then, this book is for you. Gay Marriage and gay people serving in the military may sound good on paper, but have you ever wondered why Marriage and the Military are so freaking important? Isn't there another way of being? Being gay should call into question some of the traditions of society, so why are we so eager to assimilate into corporate condoned society?

  • Bryan Cebulski
    2019-06-12 23:18

    Giving this a 3 because there are most certainly voices worth hearing in this collection. Otherwise though, this is such a mess. Uneven mix of personal, political and cultural essays. They make sense in terms of their subject matter, but the presentation and depth don't sync much. Most are anecdotal and speak in a reactive manner, not forming theory or discourse but expressing emotion. There's a place for that, most definitely, but this book wants to sell itself as more than outbursts of feeling and that's just not the case for the majority of the collection. There's also a troubling pattern of equating queerness with a wild lifestyle? It's a bit disconcerting. Little discussion of queer domesticity is involved here. I expected to read about things like polyamory in everyday life, nuanced and pointed takedowns of conservative white gay men, the privilege of being able to "pass" as straight. Unfortunately though for the most part we just hearing about kinky sex and why being in the queer underground in the latter 20th century was so great. Weird how the book is meant to revolt against mainstream conservative white queerdom but mostly focuses on appearance and PARTYING. Recognition of the AIDS epidemic and some nods to how this period was brutal for POC are present, but not enough.The sex essays in this book are kind of incomprehensible. I guess they're essentially there to promote visibility buuuut they're too conversational for erotica and too simple for cultural analysis. They're just there, not adding much beyond "this one time sex happened".Also interested in the use of the word "faggot" throughout the book. Seems like the authors want to "reclaim" it but it's never used outside a negative context, so they defeat their own point.

  • Caty
    2019-06-08 02:33

    The essays in this book are some of the most visceral, intense pieces of writing I've ever read. The dogmatism and self-analysis that cluttered MBS' previous anthologies are minimized, if not gone. Instead, the book pushes you headlong into the subjective reality of everything that's wrong with our current consumerist macho queer culture--into being closeted in prison, fucking bareback while HIV positive, and a thousand other fucked up experiences. And these vignettes are a better argument against an LGBTQ community content with repealing DADT and getting married than any polemic. When I first picked up the book, I wondered how she had gotten such gay luminaries as Edmund White and *Samuel R Delaney* to rave about her book. Now I *know*.

  • Jeremy
    2019-05-31 21:46

    5 gold stars! This was fantastic. Every gay person should read this. It is a collection of essays about gay issues that are current and relevant and aggravating. I actually learned a bit from a few of these perspectives.

  • É O'Conghaile
    2019-05-29 02:16

    Disappointing. I like to think that the disappointment I feel with this anthology is sourced in the authors' disappointment with the successes of gentrification and assimilation. Whereas the first two (That's Revolting! and Nobody Passes, respectively) were, albeit sometimes average collections, a pretty good reflection on history, advocacy, opportunity, and the complexity of identity - this one instead seems to give up while desperately kicking and screaming for a better world, the one they wanted in their hypersexual youth.It is as though the reflection has become raunch-as-rebellion (frustrations channelled in violent, HIV-spreading sexuality), the opportunity clouded by the connection with meth (and other drugs). At no point in this book is there talk of the complexity of navigating a safe and responsible sexual relationship with someone who is HIV-positive, while still respecting them as humans and just as worthy of human rights and dignity as anyone else. Instead, these writers tend to talk of unsafe sex as transgressive, as if not wanting to be infected means wanting to get married and be normative. What the hell, I say. They say, "That's it, gentrizilla has won. So, fuck it. Fuck it bareback."Your shock value is not radical -or- interesting.Is this truly what gender radicalism became in less than a decade? Is our choice here truly confined within the dichotomy of either white-skin white picket fence, fencing in our fun; or hyperfeminine blatant nonconsent and objectification, *masquarading* as the radical alternative to the hypermasculine sexuality of blatant nonconsent and objectification?Darling, please. We can do better than this.[To note, the best essay overall was 'Slow Boil' by Eric A. Stanley. Worth reading on its own. The final one, 'Something Resembling Power' by Kristen Stoeckeler is quite good, too, but there is use of the t-word a few times.]

  • Coratesia
    2019-06-09 21:24

    This anthology showcases the blood, sweat and tears of the proudly deviant, where being queer is sensual and filthy, and homonormativity and whitewashing can take a seat.With the neo-liberal hyper masculine social circles that now dominate every aspect of gay life its made for a little literary oasis for this punk ass queer femme. Some standouts for me are Jones' The Unlikely Barebacker, Fagan's My fear, The Forces Beneath; and Clarkson's Penis is Important for That. But it was Ezra RedEagle Whitman's Straightening the Shawl that resonated with my own life and which has left me with a perfect description for my life goals: SLUTTY VISION SEEKER. All of the stories are short but lacking sweet (a plus in my book) and it is easy enough to skip one if it's not your cup of tea though I would suggest stomaching through it because you may just gain a little perspective. I think this should be on every young faggots bookshelf.

  • duck reads
    2019-06-13 20:29

    I disliked a lot of this book. I liked a lot of it also. Most of all, I found myself wanting to talk about the subjects raised with everyone all the time, in an attempt to figure out how I felt about all of things it churned up, and also just because there were interesting ideas to discuss.

  • Jimmy
    2019-06-04 23:33

    These essays span the horizons of gender, race, class, occupation, and even sexuality. I was amazed at the level of diversity in this book-- though I suppose that’s the point, it was still amazing to read in an anthology multiple essays by people of color, not just one that is the “token brown person” so everyone knows your anthology isn’t racist. Even the methodology of writing was diverse: some were straight narrative, some were prosey introspection, some were critical analysis, and so forth. Though the title screams “shock factor” just a little, it fits. That’s the point. Why is society so afraid of femininity, and especially so feminine men? Why are feminine men afraid of each other? Each person included in this anthology gave a different answer and yet they all felt some of the same things. Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots? hits close to home. It’s weird, it’s warm, it’s full of heart and defiance and deviance. It’s most likely what Walt Whitman wanted us to sing-- ourselves. Perhaps a few of the essays came out underdeveloped, but even those still had the raw feeling that is necessary when we speak of ourselves with honesty and bravery. This anthology is not for the faint of heart. It is not for your white-washed, watered-down, consumerist Pride parade. It is, at the very core, stunningly real. It tells the shitty stories. The HIV+ stories. The rape stories. The abuse, suicide, addiction stories. The stories that people are living, no longer alone. But it comes out hopeful. If you’re interested in queer theory, read this. If you are queer, read this. If you want to read brutally honest accounts of real people going through real shit, read this. Read this.

  • Max Urai
    2019-05-23 03:24

    This was very, very interesting. Lot to digest here. Longer review when I have time.

  • Phillip
    2019-06-11 20:44

    I got this book for Christmas. Every year I peruse the Lambda Literary Awards and this was nominated in the LGBT Anthology section. As a progressive queer activist in college I’ve read some of the other works edited by Mattilda including That’s Revolting! Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation. This is a collection along the same lines as others in that there are 30 short entries with most about 4-5 pages each as the book ends at 208 pages.I was interested in reading this because as a somewhat effeminate gay man I’ve seen all too well the emphasis on masculinity in the gay community. I remember once I was talking to a guy online and he asked if I was masculine. I replied “I can pretend convincingly”. That ended that interaction. Also, as a progressive person I’m interested in the wide experiences of queer people and their voices which might not be heard in the mainstream queer publications.I will admit this got off to a slow start and none of the first few ones impressed me. I actually set this down for a while and wasn’t particularly excited to pick it back up again. Some of the pieces took a too broad approach to their entire lives and how they didn’t fit in the gay community or their original community. The writing wasn’t strong enough for a published book, and I worried that all of the stories would be variations on the same thing….an onslaught of humorless Queer Theory 101 papers.However, after finishing the book I can say that most of these entries were good and some were excellent. Although some took that unfocused approach, others were pointed on specific circumstances and instances. “Penis is Important for That” by Nick Carlson describes the experience of a transman hitting on his hot daddy hairdresser and the implications of his rejection. ”I’ll Tell You What I Want, What I Really Want: Homolove and Accountability” by Harris Kornstein examines the childhood friendships among the author and his two queer friends, and the homophobia that split them apart. Both of these were highlights of the collection for me. I’ve often been attracted to transmen but worried about going further with that due to my ‘gold-star’ status, and it was fascinating hearing him react to those reservations from another standpoint. When I was growing up I had a couple friends that I’m sure ended up queer some way, and Kornstein deftly portrays the tribulations that entails.The other selections that I most enjoyed were those that shared stories without an obvious agenda that often stirred up my emotions. ”It Gets Better” by Matthew Blanchard demonstrates a life of ostracism, sex-work, and drug use with tragic circumstances for the author, but without the regretful tone or admonishment you would hear from an advocacy organization. In her own entry, “Generations”, Mattilda commemorates a friend from the scene in San Francisco with admiration. There were also several haunting reflections of sexual harassment and abuse such “A Rock and a Bird” by Booh Edouardo and “My Fear, the Forces Beneath” by Willow Aerin Fagan.Initially, I thought this book would be a overwrought testimonial of every possible outsider from the straight-acting, white, cisgendered, able-bodied, male, middle-class gay mainstream. Indeed if you’ve ever felt like an outsider for some reason you will identify with one of the voices from this book. I wish some of the authors approached their point more creatively, but overall this was a good read that I would recommend to even those seasoned with queer identity politics.

  • Jimmie
    2019-05-28 21:19

    At just over 200 pages, this book collects 31 essays from a diverse array of LGBTIQQ writers and scholars. A few of the essays seemed sufficiently, if superficially, developed in the span of a few pages, but for the most part, they were woefully short. A few didn't even quite manage to state a thesis before the author was signing off. In truth, I feel rather cheated because this is subject matter that much of LGB (as distinct from TIQQ) scholarship shies away from (a point hinted at several times in the volume itself), and I was very excited about reading it when I first bought it.That being said, there were quite a few thought-provoking nuggets. For example:"As backrooms get shut down to make way for wedding vows, and gay sexual culture morphs into 'straight-acting dudes hangin' out,' we wonder if we can still envision possibilities for a flaming faggotry that challenges the assimilationist norms of a corporate-cozy lifestyle." (Sycamore, from his introduction)"As the movement for sexual and gender revolution is hijacked by a narrow call to conform to a capitalist hetero-patriarchal core, the lives and aspirations of millions of human beings deemed 'illegal' or simply unwanted are torn apart by imperialist regimes across the globe." (Debanuj DasGupta on being a "brown immigrant fag")"The discursive practices of the public and private culture I inhabited made me sure of at least two things. The first was that the semiotics of my small frame and fey body was indeed that of a faggot. ... The second truth was that as a fag, I would die of AIDS. In this co-presence, AIDS and faggotry were forged as one, in the blood of those that were dead and dying and through the AIDS-phobic representations that brought both to my pre-teen eyes." (Eric A. Stanley on how, even though AIDS is not a "gay disease," it is forever a part of our identity)"Why am I so afraid of being touched by men? This question echoes throughout the years of my life, deep into the hidden place where I locked memory away, where my father forced his penis down my throat on my fifth birthday, when he told me, 'I'm doing this because you want it, faggot.' And so I am afraid not only of other men, faggots, who might want to touch me in the places my father did; I am afraid of my own queer desire." (Willow Aerin Fagan on growing up queer in an abusive home)

  • Jack Tomascak
    2019-05-26 01:34

    Started in Summer '16 (shortly before Pulse), abandoned in Fall '16 as I got wrapped up in stress. Finished in Oct '17 in a much different climate for the queer person, especially the one challenging "assigned" masculinity. Disparate (especially as you move towards the end of the collection where the essays become much more spread-out in subject matter), but worth at least checking out the CAConrad, Michael J. Faris/ML Sugie, and especially the Eric A. Stanley and Horehound Stillpoint ones.

  • A
    2019-05-24 01:38

    I needed a dose of liberation when I received this book in the mail from a friend. Consumerist forces and the need to fit a certain body type to feel attractive have plagued gay male subcultures in the United States for a long time. This book mostly filled the need for a dialogue on some of these issues by offering up a sobering number of perspectives in the form of essays. That being said, I can't help but expect more from a book that claims to challenge rather than reaffirm problematic subcultural norms. For example, in an essay on being fat and loving it, the author challenges pretty boys to recognize his largesse as desirable providing only examples of how he's after the chasers rather than the chased. If he actually intended to subvert the structure would he not be writing about his desire for men of size like himself? Not all essays fall into this trap, essays on being a brown femme in a new culture and a transgender boy lusting for other boys begin to break some new ground. I guess I'm just post-modern enough to know that being critical of a paradigm often functions as a way to delineate and define it. That's what this book does: it delineates and defines problems with assimilation and equality as the only goals of a gay movement or a gay life. Unfortunately I can't help but think that these are the same problems that have confronted this movement and many others for years and I'm not left with any flaming tools or ideas to help me oppose it.

  • Anthony White
    2019-06-17 22:20

    This book has to be the most powerful collection of essays I've read in my life, especially relating to queer identify and gender performance. I'm grateful for the good fortune I had to stumble upon this text. Each essay is brilliantly written and boldly attacks common prescriptions of how we should think of gender and sexuality. Some of these essays made me uncomfortable, exposing my AIDS-phobia as the oppressive monster it is, others made me cry, narrating agonies with which I am intimately acquainted. Reading this text for me was no less than an act of compassion and self-love, while it sharpened my critical gaze for quotidian acts of hate, violence and oppression.

  • JDub
    2019-05-31 22:23

    This book is offensive, disgusting, tragic, painful, and beautiful in all the right ways. It promises to present "flaming challenges to masculinity, objectification, and the desire to conform," and it does. In spades. The book is a collection of essays, many of which are chapter-length snapshot memoirs into the lives of the authors. As with almost any collection of works, the essays are not very cohesive and range in quality; however, unlike most collections, the essays in this volume range from pretty good to excellent. The collection of authors challenge ideas based around marriage equality, masculinity and passing, race, the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, ability, gender, the HIV/AIDS "industry's" top-down approach to treatment, and so much more. It is a radical book for radical queers, and for me, it was a breath of fresh air. Mattilda Bernsetein Sycamore's introduction sets the stage. Judging from the amount of highlights in my copy, my three favorite essays were "Death by Masculinity" by Ali Abbas, examining masculinity and racial and anti-Islamic stereotypes; a conversation between Michael J. Faris and ML Sugie titled "Fucking with Fucking Online: Advocating for Indiscriminate Promiscuity" describing the rise of dating apps and websites and the prejudices that are written off as "preferences" bring; and "Penis Is Important for That" by Nick Clarkson, which follows Nick as he bears some of the emotional labor for a potential date over the fact that Nick is a transman and does not have a penis. There are so many other amazing essays and stories in this volume beyond the three I mentioned.

  • Josh
    2019-06-05 00:42

    Incredible contributions demonstrating the diverse and transient queer narrative. Intersectional at times, argumentative, disgruntled, seeking peace and security, while trying to fit in, learning how to pass, and asserting self to take up space. Defining oneself on ones terms. There are some contributions that don't seem to fit in, and enough grammar and spelling errors to make my writing style fit in, but at times it feels sloppy. And while their are distinct pieces of diversity, the general tone and voice often feels ~generally~ the same sort of queer gonzo diary journalism. But I guess that's life, and that's apart of the book. Fuck the norm, assimilate to comfort, learn to chose battles, be messy, be clean, be reckless, be careful... it is refreshingly personable. The writers passionately demand to be taken seriously as humans who deserve respect and queer liberation

  • Jamie Laurie
    2019-06-18 00:17

    This was my first actual collection of queer theory/queer non-fiction that I've read outside of queer studies classes, and I found many of the essays really interesting. The most interesting essays, in my opinion, were the personal anecdotes.I'm giving it 3 stars because I found that the topics addressed sometimes became redundant, and there was a lot of emphasis on a kind of nostalgic longing for the past, rather than tangible/progressive theory looking to the future.Still an interesting read!

  • Highlyeccentric
    2019-06-17 03:25

    Huh. I enjoyed this, but it wasn't quite what I expected. Much of it was not 'flaming challenges' at all, but introspective commentary. There were some very interesting aspects - more essays by women than I expected, for instance. Gina de Vriews' 'Girls' was an outstanding example of those.Some of the personal essays were just really striking - Harris Kornstein's 'I tell you what I want, what I really really want' stood out in that regard. Overall, the book expressed a sense that the gay/queer community has lost something - its embracing of sex, perhaps, or diversity, or perversion, or non-normative chosen family, or, or - in the decades since the AIDS crisis began.I was also very interested by Ezra RedEagle Whitman's essay 'Straightening the Shawl', on being Native American and gay, and on not identifying as Two Spirit. On the other hand, there were essays like Francisco Ibáñez Carrasco's 'Rehab for the Unrepentant', which really bothered me. It was a genuinely interesting essay on the author's casual sex relationships with straight (ish), macho men. But it also spoke without any qualms, as if this wasn't a *problem* at all nor something that affected his view of his regular partner (unlike, say, his qualms about the man's closeting and the man's fear of AIDs), of said partner's habit of 'bashing trannies' and beating his wife. Like... Okay. You're happy to be this guy's safety valve on toxic masculinity, fine. But you've gotta at least THINK, sometimes, about what you're condoning when you take his late-night calls about beating up women.

  • Joseph Wilburn
    2019-05-28 19:18

    The subjects that this anthology deals with are (I think) going to be of increasing importance for the LGBT community in the not too distant post-civil rights struggle era of the future. This book holds up a mirror to the members of the dominant gay culture and demands that there be an accounting taken of the skeletons still remaining in our communal closets. There is a common resignation that issues of gender, gender expression, size, racial, class, and HIV status will not be dealt with if life gets too cozy for those who are more masculine, white and well-to-do. Even though the book was written just before the 2013 changes, I think that the messages will not be forgotten though the tone of many of the authors seems to indicate differently. In fact, I think these issues will become ever more important as we have solidified our relationship with the dominant culture, the LGBT community will now have to deal with the demons or face a similar epidemic of relationship failures that plague heterosexuals.

  • Jed
    2019-06-09 02:16

    I'm not sure the question the title asks is ever answered. This isn't a sociological look at internalised homophobia. It's a collection of stories about, often, how mean LGBT people are to one another. And, disturbingly, how often gay men are mean to transgendered people. Booh Eduardo's story "A Rock and a Bird" is especially haunting because the "antagonist" is apparently completely blind to how awful and selfish he is. It's not all depressing, though, some are quite funny; and there are a few pieces (not really the best in my opinion) that try to pass for academic to some degree. They sound like something right out of a gender studies class. Most of the book, though, consists of compelling personal stories.Don't be turned off by the title. If you are interested in the varied experience of LGBT existence, you could do a lot worse than to pick up this little collection of stories.

  • Corvus
    2019-06-08 21:43

    This is one of my favorite queer anthologies. It had been on my wishlist for some time and I finally got a hold of a copy.I found myself relating to things in this more than I expected and being made to think more than I expected. I'm a trans person who's read somewhere along the lines of butch dyke, what is that, or strange gay guy and I've also found myself feeling lonely in different LGBT communities, even radical and queer ones.Some essay ripped my heart out and others put it back.P.S. I also felt my knee hit the table hard when I got to the correctional officer essay. I went on to read the wuthor's bio as a FORMER CO and that made me think more. I believe that essay was trying to show us a complicated world outside radical politics and analysis where cis men together in prison interact in ways that can be read as gay, and how women and authoritarianism fit into that equation.

  • Ari
    2019-06-16 20:30

    For someone who doesn't identify within the specific populations the writers of this book occupy, this collection of essays was certainly a culture shock, though one I readily leapt into. Regardless of identities or personal stories told, each essay was packed with important insights and probed issues that matter significantly to the queer population, as well as the societal majority. Additionally, more often than not, the central issues discussed were not those of the majority within the minority; rather, they explore the endless array of intersectionality and subcultures within the acronym. Yes, there was culture shock, but the voices of these writers, like so many others, cannot wield their power if they're asked to filter their experiences in order to become more palatable. Intriguing, powerful, and devastatingly frustrating, this book was well worth reading.

  • Steven
    2019-06-05 20:16

    This book was great! At times hilarious, insightful, depressing, hopeful. It was great to see the experiences of such a wide variety of queer people. You can tell Mattilda tried very hard to represent as many people as possible in this book. I was surprised, but the book changed my life and how I view things. Some authors really make you challenge your views. The stories were not afraid to talk about the dirty, the messy, the scary, and the taboo. They also have found ways to add perspective and nuance. It lost a star in my rating however because some of the stories simply left no mark for me. It left me wondering: what was the point of this and why was it chosen? For me, at least, a select few stories felt like it went nowhere and I could have read the book without the article. Overall, definitely recommend!

  • Cian
    2019-05-22 01:34

    A thought-provoking breath of fresh-air in an age of assimilationist HRC conformity. The book includes over two dozen short essays by a variety of authors, and my reactions to the different pieces varied greatly. The collection gives voice to experiences and identities that are too often overlooked or silenced in the seemingly single-minded drive for marriage at the expense of all (and everyone) else. With such an array of authors, the style and quality varied -- some were more successful than others in making their point. Some pieces had me wanting to yell YES YES YES, while others challenged my comfort zones or just fell flat. Overall, a valuable addition to the bookshelf and (even better) fodder for thoughtful conversation.

  • Will
    2019-06-02 23:23

    Sycamore's collection of essays is a powerful response to shifting currents within the queer community especially among men. The essays mixed deeply personal reflections on hardship and love with more academic pieces situating certain experiences in larger systems of oppression. The mix was nice to read different people's opinions and experiences but at times it felt jarring. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed the volume. I love the opportunity to read narratives and histories about surviving the HIV/AIDS epidemic and do not think often enough about its legacies on my actions, the queer communities I show up in, and its connection to neoliberalism. I really enjoyed reading many authors take on this issue and many more in Sycamore's book.

  • Daniel Lowen
    2019-05-28 00:18

    This was great! A series of essays, each 4-8 pages, on all sorts of topics relating to queer people who don't fit the dominant queer mold. The irony, of course, is that gay male America has become a minority that mirrors the mainstream in marginalizing those who don't want to or can't fit in.The first essay was stupid, but I'm glad I kept going. The quality was of course mixed, but mostly very good and eye-opening. And each writer had a different style -- some more academic, others very personal. The best essay was by a guy who was so ashamed of an incident in which he'd chosen not to out himself, that he had a pink triangle tattooed to his arm to keep him from ever being able to do so again. Stunning story, beautifully written.

  • Ami Kismet
    2019-05-24 20:23

    I enjoyed reading the essays in this book but I felt that some of them read more as personal essays about being gay, coming out, or knowing/having AIDS. There were a few essays that made the connection between personal experience and a larger societal or cultural issues of misogyny, and patriarchy. A few of the essays read more like men whining about why they can't just have sex with each other even if one of them is more 'feminine' acting or is Latino or Asian, but that is where it stopped. There was no deeper exploration. It was definitely an interesting read, but I think the title itself was a bit misleading in what I expected of the content.

  • David
    2019-05-26 22:28

    This book is a collection of short essays, reflections, and interviews. I really loved reading this book. The format meant that it was constantly new and different. Some essays made me feel like I was reading my own life experience printed on a page, and others confronted me with thoughts and experiences that I'd never pondered or encountered before. Some were very uncomfortable, and I'm grateful for them, too. This book will inspire reflection. I will never think about masculinity the same way again. Highly recommended. Friends of mine, if you read it, let's talk about it.

  • David
    2019-06-01 20:23

    I believe this collection of essays definitely provides strong voices and diverse perspectives within the gay community, many of which (I admit) were completely new to me. I particularly found the voices of gay men of color to be very enlightening and provocative, causing me to reflect and meditate further on their experiences both within the gay community and in the general scene. Admittedly, I found many essays to be counter-productive and excessively radical....BUT, I feel that the important thing is that this collection allowed these perspectives a voice in the gay community.