Sunday, March 26th, 2023

Why are LGBT history books ignored by the media…

Billy Glover…including the LGBT media?

February 16, 2015.

Here is one good example—a review of Pre-Gay L.A. by William Percy:

From one of Walter William’s finest students, C. Todd White’s Pre-Gay L.A. probably ranks as the best work on homosexuality yet published (University of Illinois Press).

An anthropologist by training, White meticulously integrates individual biographies with institutional and social history in a charming and gripping narrative.

Pre-Gay L.A.The book is hard to put the book down because the splits and various movements in Los Angeles and beyond were so dramatic that one would not think it was published by a university press.

Pre-Gay L.A. describes facts and personalities that scholars and young LGBT people should want to find out about. It adheres to the finest traditions of objective scholarship; White excitingly describes how all of the major issues confronting the movement since Stonewall were discussed in depth and intelligently before that riot.

White focused more institutional history rather than the broad-ranging sensationalized Gay L.A: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics and Lipstick Lesbians (2006). It began with the Indian village on which the Spanish built, emphasizing movie stars and celebrities. White also downsized the exaggerated role assigned to Harry Hay in Gay L.A and corrected its misuse of the term gay for the ’30s and ’40s.

See my own review of C. Todd White’s book here.

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  1. JESS Kalinowsky

    Unfortunately “The Community” in General is not interested in “Our” history.We treat Senior Citizens like dirt, forgetting that they paved the way for us to have the freedoms we have today.My Grandmother used to say, “Youth is wasted on the Young!”Today’s Youth are more interested in how many times they can get laid,or how many drugs they can do, or how drunk they can get, instead of what can I do to help advance “gay rights” and better treatment of one another or better treatment of Seniors!Read a real book??? Now that is a joke. Their lives are so “right now”. what is in it for “ME”! They can barely carry on a conversation.Their grammar is atrocious! Their interest is on SEX, PORN, and such!A tiny percentage are interested in anything vaguely to enhance their culture!They are only interested in SEX, DRUGS, and ALCOHOL.Gay publication are the worse! They concentrate all their copy to the very short attention span market!It is no wonder that “The Advocate” is a minuscule amount of pages anymore.It is a shame that “Gay America” is so short sighted!The old cliche “Sex Sells” and that is what the gay publications aim at in every issue!Not to mention that the gay publications are “whores” to National Advertisers.Gay people need to learn they need to support local small gay owned businesses!

  2. Billy Glover

    I think there are lots of us who think what you are saying. But to be honest, until I accidentally got involved in the cause I too had never read a book or even thought about the issue of civil rights, etc-and in my days-1950s-60s on mainly-there was not that much community nor many businesses aimed at the community. That is the main reason I feel optimistic, each decade since then has seen more people coming out, more businesses started that are owned by us or are gay-friendly.I think there are many resources now-I like many of the glbt newspapers in major cities-and even they need advertising, but the internet may make them have to change. What I think might help get young people more aware is a glance at the Gayellow Pages, and the thousands of businesses, organizations, etc that are there to help and serve us. But apparently few people know of this national resource, and not many see even the local “yellow pages” for our community.It does seem that if young people can find what they want on the internet, such as parties, social places, they can find serious information, since even today they still face some discrimination.But this is also a generic issue. I heard someone say recently that a professor or someone had asked people if they would go back to live a few decades ago if they could have the income they have today-not sure this is a good thing considering the present economic problems-but in theory a car cost $3,000 in the 50s and now costs over $20,000 so if your salary was more now than then you would be rich. The answer is NO, since even with lots of money we would still not have the resources we have today-tv, cell phones, internet, better cars, air-conditioning, etc. And that means to me that each generation has made progress in most ways, including civil rights, and probably a majority of young people will later get involved to protect the gains we have made.I grew up in WWII, so I know what other generations had to do to keep this nation safe, and that is the main thing our education system needs to make young people aware of. And young lgbt people need to know that their civil rights are better because others worked to get rid of laws and opinions-and that means they need to know of Lawrence v Texas which got rid of the sodomy laws, etc.And I too hate to read long boring books. Most of our history can be given in a book of few chapters and our history is well documented, better than most civil rights efforts. And I have seen/heard great discussion of our issues on tv sitcoms. And Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert type shows actually cover the issues very good and with humor. And I have seen movies such as Latter Days that actually help understand the difficulties dealing with religion, parents, etc. What frustrates me is the lousy tv channel supposdely devotged to the glbt community and gives us nothing but RuPaul drag shows. (LOGO) That is the exploitation our community needs to avoid.

  3. Tracy Baim

    I don’t think you can say “all gay media” do anything—just as with all straight media. Some do a very good job on gay history. We at Windy City Times have always been VERY committed to LGBT history—and reviewing LGBT history books. However, not all publishers do a good job of publicizing these books or even getting them to us for review.

  4. Billy Glover

    You are right of course and I see your coverage. The second point is strange: why do people write a book and publishers print it and then not seek to get it known to the lgbt media? I have seen mention of books I had never heard of. And while C-SPAN/Book-TV have done some of our books, I think they need to hear from our community so they will do better. I gave up on the few general newspapers still even trying to do books. At least some stores do use the internet, such as Philadelphia’s Giovanni’s Room. And Left Bank in St. Louis publicizes the two local lgbt book clubs.

  5. Victor Salvo

    GLBT History tomes are largely ignored by most everybody except those who deliberately seek out information on the subject and those who write about it. That is the reason why we conceived of THE LEGACY WALK in Chicago — a half-mile long outdoor museum walk that celebrates the contributions GLBT people have made toward the advancement of world history and culture. By putting stories about our accomplishments right on a major urban thoroughfare – where anybody (and everybody) can and will stop to read them – we hope to not only inspire people to learn more about all we have contributed – but to begin a dialog about WHY we have been written out of history in most every other respect. In the current climate of bullying and suicides – where GLBT people are forced to exist in this bizarre bubble, denied their serious historic relevance, perpetually relegated to being political footballs – there is nothing more important than giving young people – especially GLBT youth – a sense that people like them have always been an integral part of history. Not just our history – but everybody’s history. It is only through nurturing an appreciation of our many, many roles that true understanding has a prayer of taking hold and effecting a positive change in the way we are viewed and issues central to us are regarded.

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