Gay L. A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, And Lipstick Lesbians

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9780465022885: Gay L. A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, And Lipstick Lesbians

The exhortation to "Go West!" has always had a strong hold on the American imagination. But for the gays, lesbians, and transgendered people who have moved to L.A. over the past two centuries, the City of Angels has offered a special home--which, in turn, gave rise to one of the most influential gay cultures in the world. Drawing upon untouched archives of documents and photographs and over 200 new interviews, Lillian Faderman and Stuart Timmons chart L.A.'s unique gay history, from the first missionary encounters with Native American cross-gendered "two spirits" to cross-dressing frontier women in search of their fortunes; from the bohemian freedom of early Hollywood to the explosion of gay life during World War II to the underground radicalism sparked by the 1950s blacklist; from the 1960s gay liberation movement to the creation of gay marketing in the 1990s. Faderman and Timmons show how geography, economic opportunity, and a constant influx of new people created a city that was more compatible to gay life than any other in America. Combining broad historical scope with deftly wrought stories of real people, from the Hollywood sound stage to the barrio, Gay L.A. is American social history at its best.

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From the Inside Flap:

"This sociological, political, and cultural history of lesbian and gay life in Los Angeles by two seasoned historians is easily the subject's definitive work." -Publishers Weekly

"An essential contribution to the history of gay resistance and the development of a polotical consciousness. This book documents important events ignored in other histories." -John Rechy, author of City of Night

"Finally, in one beautifully documented mosaic of a page-turner, the whole his and herstory of my city, L.A., revealed as an epicenter of LGBT presence: Gabrelino Native Americans, All Fools Night, 'criminals' in the shadows of bars and clubs, police entrapment, Hollywood stars with partners in their 'employ', organizing to fight back before most of the country even woke up, founding half of all the institutions you ever heard of, grabbing political power, the surprising joy of coming out and the devastation of AIDS, it's all here in Gay L.A. Love, hate, sex, death...and it names names."--Senator Sheila Kuehl, California (D--Los Angeles)

"In this entertaining history of gay and lesbian Los Angeles you'll find everyting from 'nances and saphic ladies,' 'flutters and fruiters,' 'cuddle-for-cash-cuties,' 'pansy joints,' and 'flounce factories' to one of the earliest sexual uses of 'go down' in 1914. So go West with Faderman and Timmons to mad, bad, Gay L.A. It's a trip!"--Jonatthan Ned Katz, author of The Invention of Heterosexuality

"Gay L.A. is the long-awaited chronicle of Los Angeles' important role in the struggle for gay and lesbian rights. This documentation of Angelenos' considerable challenges and achievements during the 20th century is destined to become a classic."--Jim Van Buskirk, co-author of Gay by the Bay and Program Manager, James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center, San Francisco Public Library

"As a third generation Californian and a longtime student of gay and lesbian history in the Golden State, I am amazed at the riches contained in Gay L.A. From the region's indigenous peoples to its first settlers on Bunker Hill, from the birth of the movies to the age of ACT-UP, the panorama of our past is expertly uncovered. Simply indispensable!"--Mark Thompson, author of Gay Spirit and former senior editor of The Advocate

"Energetically researched and vividly written, Gay L.A. chronicles the good times and the bad, in the closet and out, of gay Angelenos of every sort, as they sought their place in the sun and, in so doing, ensured that Los Angeles would never, never, never be a boring place."--Kevin Starr, author of Coast of Dreams and California: A History

"An exceptionally literate, overstuffed chronicle of gay Tinseltown...Vital intellectual fare brimming with fascinating history."--Kirkus Reviews (starred)

"This social, political, and cultural history of lesbian and gay life in Los Angeles by two seasoned historians is easily the subject's definitive work ... [and is] filled with illuminating facts."--Publishers Weekly

"Archival sources dating back to the nineteenth century; interviews [with] 250 people; ... and many other resources, public and private, furnished the raw materials for their informative, detailed account, which finds that 'historically, more lesbian and gay institutions started in Los Angeles than anywhere else on the planet.'"--Booklist

"Faderman and Timmons deliver a meticulously researched history of the city to support their claim that Los Angeles is the city with the most influence on the gay movement over the last 200 years. . . . Technical jargon or theoretical baggage often weighs down studies of this kind, but Gay L.A. reads like a novel. Faderman and Timmons have set out a dramatic struggle with Los Angeles as its epicenter, a struggle that reverberates through red and blue states and that questions institutions as basic as marriage and definitions as ancient as selfhood."--Eloise Klein Healy, Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Authors Lillian Faderman and Stuart Timmons--both of whom are distinguished, award-winning writers and scholars--have done a remarkable job in writing a lively, thorough, inclusive, and engaging chronicle of the last 150 years of "gay life" in Los Angeles and Southern California. . ..The book brilliantly shows us how we got to where we are--the good with the not-so-good, the egos and the martyrs, the heroes/heroines and the victims. All of it is presented in a handsome volume with great illustrations, a highly readable style, and an astonishing amount of primary research--hundreds of interviews and journalistic excavations that will dazzle and surprise everyone who reads this important book. Gay L.A. is a fascinating contribution to the history of gay culture in America. A must-read, it will educate and entertain even its most informed audience."--Chris Freeman, WeHo News

"Energetically researched and vividly written, Gay L.A. chronicles the good times and bad, in the closet and out, of gay Angelenos of every sort, as they sought their place in the sun and, in so doing, ensured that Los Angeles would never, never, never be a boring place."--Kevin Starr, author of Coast of Dreams and California: A History

"Finally, in one beautifully documented mosaic of a page-turner, the whole his and her-story of my city, L.A., revealed as an epicenter of LGBT presence: Gabrelino Native Americans, All Fools Night, 'criminals' in the shadows of bars and clubs, police entrapment, Hollywood stars with partners in their 'employ', organizing to fight back before most of the country even woke up, founding half of all the institutions you ever heard of, grabbing political power, the surprising joy of coming out and the devastation of AIDS, it's all here in Gay LA. Love, hate, sex, death....and it names names..."--State Senator Sheila Kuehl

"In Gay L. A., Lillian Faderman and Stuart Timmons have not only brought a hidden history to light, they've made it panoramic. I can't recall reading a book in which Los Angeles--or any city--has been portrayed as such a fascinating multitude of private lives that were destined to become public. This book is entertaining, informative, meticulous, and necessary."--Bernard Cooper, author of The Bill From My Father, Maps to Anywhere and Truth Serum

"As a third-generation Californian and a longtime student of gay and lesbian history in the Golden State, I am amazed at the riches contained in Gay L.A. From the region's indigenous peoples to its first settlers on Bunker Hill, from the birth of the movies to the age of ACT-UP, the panorama of our past is expertly uncovered. Simply indispensable!"--Mark Thompson, author of Gay Spirit and former senior editor of The Advocate

"An essential contribution to the history of gay resistance and the development of a political consciousness. This book documents important events ignored in other histories."--John Rechy, author of City of Night, The Sexual Outlaw, and Numbers

"Gay L.A. is the long-awaited chronicle of Los Angeles' important role in the struggle for gay and lesbian rights. Faderman and Timmons dispassionately present the rich results of their primary research to vividly portray the lives of Southern California gay men and lesbians. In addition to the high level of scholarship and engaging writing, especially noteworthy is the authors' sensitivity to communities of color as well as to the deft descriptions of the infighting of various activist groups. This documentation of Angelenos' considerable challenges and achievements during the 20th century is destined to become a classic."--Jim Van Buskirk, co-author of Gay by the Bay: A History of Queer Culture in the San Francisco Bay Area and Program Manager, James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center, San Francisco Public Library

"[T]heir remarkable capacity for sharp, vivid description, buttressed by an impressive research regimen that included new interviews, makes Gay L.A. insightful, comprehensive, and fluid. Faderman and Timmons make an irrefutable case for the importance of the city to queer history, and they astutely depict the internal fault lines of the 'gay community', which has often splintered along racial, class, and especially gender lines but which has also showed itself capable of coalescing in the face of crisis. Full of fascinating anecdotes (including much on Hollywood), wise and fair analysis, and significant and inspiring examples of courageous resistance recaptures from the unwritten histories of the past, Gay L.A. deserves a place in every library."--Library Journal (starred)

About the Author:

Lillian Faderman is the award-winning author of numerous books on lesbian/gay history, including Surpassing the Love of Men and Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers, which were both named among the New York Times Notable Books of the Year. Her most recent book, Naked in the Promised Land, received the Judy Grahn Award for nonfiction, and a Lambda Literary Award for memoir. She also has been given several "lifetime achievement awards" for gay/lesbian scholarship, including the Paul Monette/Rogler Horwitz Award, Yale University's James Brudner Award, and the Publishing Triangle's Bill Whitehead Award. She lives in California. Stuart Timmons' The Trouble with Harry Hay, chronicled a century of gay life in Los Angeles, and became a Book of the Month Club selection. He has covered gay politics and culture from theater to AIDS, as well as reported on education, environmental, and other topics. His work has appeared in papers such as LA Weekly, The Advocate, Frontiers, Vibe, and Spin and his short stories have appeared in various anthologies.

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