Chapter

Homosexual Life Stories, 1935–41

in Departing from Deviance

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2001 | ISBN: 9780226530437
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226304458 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226304458.003.0004
Homosexual Life Stories, 1935–41

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A homosexual person should have the same position in society as a heterosexual person has. This chapter deals with male and female narratives separately, looking at male stories first. It then considers the common patterns that emerge across both sets of stories. It focuses on variations in the evaluative tone of the narratives, that is, how positive or negative the storytellers were about their lives. The ending of the homosexual narratives reflected how these men coped with their sexuality at the time they were interviewed, that is, how successfully they were able to construct an identity that resisted the hegemonic metanarrative of heterosexuality. There was considerable variability in reported coping skills. Some men were caught up in an identity crisis, unable to move beyond the grip of ideological imperative. Others were relatively successful in constructing their homosexual identities. This chapter concludes with a consideration of how the stories, and the grassroots project that generated them, fit into the emergence of the American homosexual rights movement.

Keywords: homosexual; rights movement; sexuality; female narratives; ideological imperative

Chapter.  16888 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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