Making Trouble Essays On Gay History

This article examines why the Stonewall riots became central to gay collective memory while other events did not. It does so through a comparative-historical analysis of Stonewall and four events similar to it that occurred in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York in the 1960s. The Stonewall riots were remembered because they were the first to meet two conditions: activists considered the event commemorable and had the mnemonic capacity to create a commemorative vehicle. That this conjuncture occurred in New York in 1969, and not earlier or elsewhere, was a result of complex political developments that converged in this time and place. The success of the national commemorative ritual planned by New York activists depended on its resonance, not only in New York but also in other U.S. cities. Gay community members found Stonewall commemorable and the proposed parade an appealing form for commemoration. The parade was amenable to institutionalization, leading it to survive over time and spread around the world. The Stonewall story is thus an achievement of gay liberation rather than an account of its origins.

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Making Trouble: Essays on Gay History, Politics, and the University

John D'Emilio, Author Routledge $49.95 (274p) ISBN 978-0-415-90509-1
D'Emilio authored one of the pioneering studies of the birth of the gay movement, Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities. In this collection, he expands on that work, with forays into gay historiography, the rise of gay and lesbian studies in the university and further explorations of the history of gay and lesbian activism in the U.S. One of the author's greatest strengths is his ability to relate the personal to the political, using an illuminating detail from his own life where applicable to make a larger historical point. Thus, his own early sexual experiences in Times Square come into play in an incisive essay on Women Against Pornography, and the introduction recalls movingly his trajectory from working-class white ethnic kid to gay activist and scholar. Because it is a collection of essays, papers and speeches drawn from a fairly narrow period of time, the book is occasionally repetitive. However, D'Emilio is an engaging writer and a superb historian. The final essay, one of the longest in the book, is a quick history of the movement with particular attention to post-Stonewall (1969) activism; one fervently hopes that it is a hint of what D'Emilio's next book project will be. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-415-90510-7
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-136-64184-8
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-136-64191-6
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-136-64177-0
Hardcover - 320 pages - 978-1-138-15535-0

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