David M. Halperin

How to be Gay

Harvard University Press 2012

New Books in Gender StudiesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in SociologyNew Books Network February 25, 2013 Annie Sepucaia

What does it mean to be gay? According to many people, gayness is simply homosexuality – a sexual orientation. However, as David M. Halperin...

What does it mean to be gay? According to many people, gayness is simply homosexuality – a sexual orientation. However, as David M. Halperin argues in his new book How to be Gay (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2012), being gay is about more than just sex. In fact, gay men learn how to develop a gay cultural subjectivity through other gay men. Gay culture is phenomenon that is as often denied as it is accepted, as is evidenced by the many stereotypes often associated with gay people, played out in movies and TV shows on a regular basis.  Halperin argues that there is a “queer way of feeling,” and that gay subjectivity should be discussed and studied, not dismissed and denied. Despite the catchy title, How to be Gay is a thoroughly academic and detailed book, which seriously dives into the research of gay subjectivity and style. In this interview, he explains how modern day gay identity has been promoted at the expense of gay subjectivity.

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