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

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  171 Ratings  ·  17 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)
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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
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 27, 2016 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
"Los Angeles was a city of heretics....a city of refugees from the [rest of] America. [Their] banishment was partly dreamed and partly real." pg. 1

"They had learned to play "the movie game," which meant creating public images that were generally far more conventional than real--though within the parameters of Hollywood, people were much more freer to indulge in the "mad, extravagant," and "unbridled." pg. 43

"They [Tom Gibbon and company] created what they called the "Cufflink Crowd." a "tight so
Sep 15, 2014 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!
pan ellington
good, solid, broadstroked history of lgbtq l.a. was pleased to see the authors go in depth on ACT/UP los angeles. very disappointed, however, at the authors language with respect to the trans community, ie: "transgenders," adjective FTM, MTF, misgendering, etc.
Elevate Difference
Dec 13, 2009 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
Nov 08, 2009 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
Jan 14, 2008 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
Lisa Brown
Apr 19, 2011 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.
Mar 23, 2012 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.
ONTD Feminism
Nov 14, 2010 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."
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.
Feb 26, 2012 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.
Nov 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtq-nf, history
Amazing details and some deeply disappointing missing ones, too.
Nick Duretta
Jul 22, 2010 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!
Josh S
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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
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