By: Karla Jay
The influence of gays and lesbians on language, literature, theater, poetry, dance, music, and the arts is unmeasurable. In the era before AIDS, gay and lesbian culture had a defining, if unrecognized, influence on American life, an influence that is only now being acknowledged.
This reissue of the classic anthology, Lavender Culture, serves as a provocative, dynamic, and wide-ranging reminder of American gay and lesbian culture in the days before the status of gay people received widespread attention in the media, religion, and politics, before Newsweek saw it fit to feature a cover story on LESBIANS, and before gays and lesbians took center stage in America's cultural landscape.
Here we find the young, assertive voices of such activists, authors, and artists as Rita Mae Brown, Barbara Grier, John Stoltenberg, Julia Penelope, Andrea Dworkin, Andrew Kopkind, Jane Rule, Arthur Bell, Charlotte Bunche, and dozens more. Including essays on such diverse subjects as gay bath houses, the gay male image in classical ballet, images of gays in rock music, Judy Garland, lesbian humor, sports and machismo, the growing business of women's music, and the Cleveland bar scene in the 1940s, Lavender Culture, with new introductory essays by the editors and Cindy Patton, offers a panoply of gay and lesbian life, tracing the current influence and visibility of gay and lesbian culture back to its origins.