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Queer Wars

The New Gay Right and Its Critics

From the 1969 rebellion at Stonewall to recent battles over same-sex marriage, Gay Liberation in the United States has always been closely associated with the political left. But in recent years, Gay Liberation has taken a dramatic turn toward the right. And gaycons, as they were once archly referred to in the Nation, have taken politics and the media by storm. New Republic columnist Andrew Sullivan, for instance, is one of the most popular bloggers on the Internet. Writer Bruce Bawer, meanwhile, is celebrated for his incisive criticism of gay culture and its connections with camp and diva worship.

Queer Wars limns this new gay right, offering the first extended consideration of gay conservatism and its more trenchant critics. Here celebrated historian of gay culture Paul Robinson draws particular attention to three features of this new political movement. First, he explores how gay conservatives have rejected the idea that commitment to gay freedom should involve equal dedication to the causes of other marginalized people, be they racial minorities, women, or the poor. Second, Robinson demonstrates why gay conservatives embrace more traditional gender ideals—why they are hostile to effeminacy among men and mannishness among women. Finally, exploring the support for sexual restraint among gay conservatives, Robinson dissects their condemnation of promiscuity and their assault on behavior they deem dissolute.

Timely and rich in suggestive propositions, Queer Wars will prove to be essential reading for anyone interested in gay culture and contemporary politics.


"Which side are you on: right, left, or mushy middle? This lucid analysis of conservative gay politics equally illuminates the positions of its left and liberal critics. Queer Wars is a most useful introduction to debates about the politics of sexuality in America today."

Jonathan Ned Katz, author, Love Stories: Sex between Men before Homosexuality

"Queer Wars is the first sustained attempt to present and critically analyze the unexpected rise of gay conservatism in America. This incisive work will undoubtedly be taken as a major contribution to the ongoing debate about the proper ends and means of gay activism in the twenty-first century."

Martin Jay, University of California, Berkeley

Table of Contents

1 Bruce Bawer and His Friends
2 Andrew Sullivan and His Enemies
3 Michelangelo Signorile and Gabriel Rotello: Sexual Conservatives
Epilogue: Queer as Folk

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