Homosexual: Oppression and Liberation
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"A pleasure...a really sensitive, lucid account of his personal liberation...a penetrating analysis of the political premises and goals and philosophical background of the movement."
—The New York Times
"The one to read...may very well be the most intelligible and best written books on the subject."
—The Minneapolis Tribune
When Homosexual: Oppression and Liberation was first published in 1971, The New York Review of Books, hailed it as the only work that bears comparison...with the best to appear from Women's Liberation. Time wrote that, among the whole tumble of homosexuals who have `come out of the closet', perhaps best among these accounts is a book by Dennis Altman.
Long out of print, Homosexual: Oppression and Liberation remains a seminal work in the gay liberation movement. Altman examines the different positions promoting gay liberation, and recognizes the healthy diversity in these divisions. Elaborating on the writers of the emergent movement--James Baldwin, Allen Ginsberg, Christopher Isherwood, Herbert Marcuse, Kate Millett, and others--Homosexual suggests that we can nurture a common, progressive movement out of our shared sexuality and experience of a heterosexist society. Today, in the age of AIDS, ACT UP, and Queer Nation, the possibility of such commonality is of critical importance.
Jeffrey Weeks's new introduction places Homosexual: Oppression and Liberation in its historical context, while the author's new afterword examines its significance in light of today's lesbian and gay movement.
in Australia, at least in the federal territories. In both Chicago :md London, however, experience has shown that the absence of specifically antihomosexual laws does not materially change the hostility encountered by most homosexuals. Coming out, as we have seen, involves the homosexual in a process of developing some way of dealing with his or her sexual identity. Part of this adjustment involves a recognition of the way in which homosexuality is stigmatized by society, and the adoption of a
form of repression, and bring to its logical conclusion the Freudian belief in our inherent bisexuality. 90 LIBERATION: TOWARD THE POLYMORPHOUS WHOLE Sex Roles and Repression The repression of polymorphous perversity in Western societies has two major components: the removal of the erotic from all areas of life other than the explicitly sexual, and the denial of our inherent bisexuality. The latter in particular is bound up with the development of the very clear-cut concepts of masculine and
that it attracts, as will any revolutionary movement, numbers of people seeking to resolve all sorts of personal difficulties. For this reason too its appeal to older homosexuals is likely to be much less, for they have already established an identity and a way of coping with the world. Indeed to such persons, gay liberation is as much a threat as it is to straight society, for it undermines the whole complex set of roles and social relationships they have built up. The real importance of gay
similar attempt elsewhere. The greatest virtue of the plan was the way it exploited the institutional channels that dissenters are always being urged to use so as to make very difficult the path of those who would stop them (although Alpine County officials did begin discussions aimed at incorporating the county into surrounding ones), and it dramatized the extent to which at least some homosexuals feel oppressed within society. The plan attracted considerable publicity (Time reported it, and for
this is not, of course, a development that is universally welcomed, and over the past few years there has developed something of a minor cult of attacking the collapse of American masculinity/ femininity which, as if in illustration of my previous arguments, is linked to an alleged growth in homosexuality. (To be accurate, that THE COLLAPSING HEGEMONY AND GAY LIBERATION 173 growth is mainly in overt and self-accepting homosexuality, although there is probably an increase in those unwilling to