Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Gay L.A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and Lipstick Lesbians” as Want to Read:
Gay L.A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and Lipstick Lesbians
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  136 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
The exhortation to “Go West!” has always sparked the American imagination. But for gays, lesbians, and transgendered people, the City of Angels provided a special home and gave rise to one of the most influential gay cultures in the world. Drawing on rare archives and photographs as well as more than three hundred interviews, Lillian Faderman and Stuart Timmons chart L.A.' ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published August 3rd 2009 by University of California Press (first published January 1st 2006)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Gay L.A., please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Gay L.A.

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 479)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
This book was a very comprehensive overview of LGBTQ history as it relates to the city of Los Angeles up until 2006. I lived in Los Angeles during the late 80s until the mid 90s so this was a very interesting read for me and it was also nice to read about familiar places and names and their relationship to LGBTQ history. This book could have covered the transgendered portion of the equation a little better but at least it did talk about it at the end. All in all this book is a well written histo ...more
May 29, 2016 Peggy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent and very readable history of gay people in the Los Angeles area. The book begins with a description of the native populations of southern California, who shocked the colonizing Spaniards with their same-sex relationships and transgender behaviors. And then the story goes on, decade by decade in the twentieth century, describing how society has winked at, suppressed, harassed, hated, accommodated, murdered, and accepted gay men and women. The history of gay LA is heavily influenced b ...more
Oct 27, 2014 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Maybe it's so stunning because I've lived in L.A. for over 30 years and know so many of the people interviewed for the book, those movers and shakers of our community. Many tears reading about the history of AIDS activism, of which I was also a tiny part. This is essential reading for LGBTQ Americans, Californians, and Angelenos. One of the things I liked best was that I thought it had a very good balance of gay male history and lesbian history. Highly recommended!
Major issues with this work:
* the authors repeatedly act as though police violence against the GLBT community is over, completely ignoring the frankly shocking statistics to the contrary
* the authors mention the GLBT community, but this book is ultimately about Gays and Lesbians, the scant coverage of Trans* individuals (which includes the authors misgendering correspondents frequently) is only trumped by the non-existent coverage of Bisexual individuals and Queer individuals
* it seems that the
Lisa Brown
May 23, 2011 Lisa Brown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
absolutely fascinating. having grown up within commuting distance of san francisco, i'd never really given much thought to the importance of los angeles on LGBT history and culture, so the book was as much informative as entertaining for me. exhaustively researched and very well written, a refreshing take on the struggle(s) for civil rights.
Elevate Difference
Dec 13, 2009 Elevate Difference rated it really liked it
California: Land of the free, the brave, and the gay. This heart-lifting literary biopsy of gay rights’ progression in Southern California (Los Angeles, specifically) is a delight to read. For those of you who have ever stood in the face of adversity, protest poster in hand, Gay L.A. will remind you exactly why you did so. For the rest, it will open your eyes to the continuing need for civil rights activism on all planes.

The non-fiction novel is a chronological retelling of the way gay community
Jan 17, 2010 Jack rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Faderman makes a LOT of claims for LA's primacy in the growth of queer culture, but man oh man has she done her research! The stories keep rolling out - the launch of a newsletter, the formation of a group, the off-camera intrigues of the film crowd, the first this and the first that.

As a long-time New Yorker, I naturally feel a bias that many of these same events were taking place in my adopted city, but Faderman so often has dates and comparisons, which support her theories and conjectures.

Michael Thomas Angelo
I attended the University of Southern California in the mid 1990s and was active in campus community advocacy for queer issues while conducting outreach into the West Hollywood enviornment of which I was incredibly enamored having recently begun acting on the homosexuality I always knew was within me. I was affiliated with Walter Williams, the pioneer responsible for the extensive ONE institute that was just taking shape at the time. It is now the largest collection of queer historical archives ...more
Mar 05, 2014 Nil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lots of fascinating stuff. You thought you knew? Learn it here.
Jan 14, 2008 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating read on the sociopolitical history of the LGBT community in L.A. Because this book covered a wide time span and many, many issues, I was often disappointed at the brief coverage many of the topics received. I wanted to know more! I appreciated that the book addressed the difference in the experiences between Gays and Lesbians over the years, as well as among different ethnic communities. Overall, I liked the breadth of the book, the research that went into it, and the pictures that p ...more
The most comprehensive lgbtq historical account I have encountered thus far. Faderman and Timmons trace the history of Southern California and LA as far back as spanish explorations to the present, in a rich, inclusive historical account that at times, raised goosebumps on my arms. Amazing.
ONTD Feminism
Nov 14, 2010 ONTD Feminism rated it really liked it
LJ user munkymp3 says, " An absolutely brilliant documentation on where queer activism began. Everyone thinks it all began in Stonewall but people will find that they were very much mistaken as they find that the very first reported uprising took place at the Black Cat Tavern in LA."
Mar 23, 2012 Graciela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was an eye opener.
It gave exact date and details about what the LGBT community has contribute to Los Angeles. It was a very interesting book :) I learned about multiple events that occurred in my city waayyyy before the Stonewall riots.
Apr 21, 2012 Stevie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating look at the history of the LGBT community (though focused mainly on gays and lesbians) in Los Angeles.
Nick Duretta
Jul 22, 2010 Nick Duretta rated it really liked it
The co-author, Stuart Timmons, is recovering bravely from a recent stroke. Hope he'll write another like this someday!
Mar 29, 2014 Averin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, lgbtq-nf
Amazing details and some deeply disappointing missing ones, too.
Richard R
Richard R marked it as to-read
Jul 22, 2016
Kyle Robinson
Kyle Robinson marked it as to-read
Jul 18, 2016
Gina marked it as to-read
Jul 17, 2016
Gillian marked it as to-read
Jul 05, 2016
Kate marked it as to-read
Jul 05, 2016
Lysistrata marked it as to-read
Jun 28, 2016
Jane marked it as to-read
Jun 26, 2016
19961970 marked it as to-read
Jun 20, 2016
Bernardo Villela
Bernardo Villela is currently reading it
Jun 18, 2016
Nomad marked it as to-read
Jun 15, 2016
Franklin Howard
Franklin Howard rated it really liked it
Jun 08, 2016
Laura Révillion
Laura Révillion marked it as to-read
Jun 05, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 15 16 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government
  • Coming Out Under Fire: The History of Gay Men and Women in World War Two
  • Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities: The Making of a Homosexual Minority in the United States, 1940-1970
  • Out of the Past: Gay and Lesbian History from 1869 to the Present
  • Love Stories: Sex between Men before Homosexuality
  • Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World 1890-1940
  • Making Gay History: The Half-Century Fight for Lesbian and Gay Equal Rights
  • Behind the Screen: How Gays and Lesbians Shaped Hollywood, 1910-1969
  • The Femme Mystique
  • Out in the Country: Youth, Media, and Queer Visibility in Rural America
  • The Gay Metropolis: The Landmark History of Gay Life in America since World War II
  • Queering the Color Line: Race and the Invention of Homosexuality in American Culture
  • Stonewall
  • Harvard's Secret Court: The Savage 1920 Purge of Campus Homosexuals
  • Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America
  • Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold: The History of a Lesbian Community
  • Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution
  • A Queer History of the United States
Lillian Faderman is an internationally known scholar of lesbian history and literature, as well as ethnic history and literature. Among her many honors are six Lambda Literary Awards, two American Library Association Awards, and several lifetime achievement awards for scholarship. She is the author of The Gay Revolution and the New York Times Notable Books, Surpassing the Love of Men and Odd Girls ...more
More about Lillian Faderman...

Share This Book