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‘Stand by Me: The Forgotten History of Gay Liberation’ By Jim Downs

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1-standThis story is a wide-ranging narrative revealing that gay life in America in the ’70s was far richer and more varied than what many people assume. In short, gay life in that decade was about far more than just sex. The author shows us gay people, who felt alienated from mainstream American life, standing together to create a sense of community. Yet their accomplishments were largely forgotten, and the results of that have been profoundly damaging. When AIDS erupted in the early ’80s, antigay moralizers pointed to the “gay lifestyle”—meaning gay sex—as the culprit. That narrative eventually became the dominant one among doctors, public-health advocates, policymakers, and journalists. By capturing the stories of gay people who have been largely silenced by history, Stand by Me shines a bright light on a triumphant moment, and will transform how we think about gay life in America from the ’70s to the present day. Basic Books (basicbooks.com). Troy Carrington

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Troy Carrington

Troy Carrington is a regular contributor to OutSmart Magazine.

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