“Lou Sullivan: Daring To Be a Man Among Men” by Dr. Brice D. Smith— Becoming a Gay Man

Smith, Dr. Brice D. “Lou Sullivan: Daring To Be a Man Among Men”, Transgress, 2017.

Becoming a Gay Man

Amos Lassen

Lou Sullivan was told that he couldn’t live as a gay man, but he died a gay man. Lou was from the Midwest where “girls did not grow up to be gay men and die from AIDS.” Lou was a transgender pioneer and one of the most tragically overlooked people in LGBT history. He marched for Civil Rights, embraced the 1960s counterculture. He came of age in the gay liberation movement, transformed medical treatment of trans people, institutionalized trans history, created and forged an international female-to-male transgender community and died from AIDS. He overcame tremendous obstacles to be who he was and dedicated his life to helping others to do just that. Sullivan inspired a generation to rethink gender identity, sexual orientation and what it means to be human.

What author Brice Smith has done here is give us well-informed understanding of transgender issues by framing these through Sullivan’s life in a way that systematically introduced and expands understanding and fill in gaps about the trans movement.

Sullivan’s Milwaukee roots were instrumental in the making of LGBT history and we see that the trans community has unique qualities that have influenced the LGBT movement.

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