Halkitis, Perry N. “Out in Time: The Public Lives of Gay Men from Stonewall to the Queer Generation”, Oxford University Press, 2019.
Three Generations of Gay Men
The civil rights of LGBTQ people have slowly yet steadily strengthened since the Stonewall Riots of 1969. Even with enormous opposition from some political segments and the catastrophic effects of the AIDS crisis, the last fifty years have brought great improvement in the conditions of the lives of LGBTQ individuals in the United States and in many cases we have gained respect, something we have been without for many ears. The realities and challenges that were once faced by a young gay man coming of age and coming out in the 1960s is, in many profound ways, different from the experiences of a young gay man coming of age and coming out today. The differences are staggering.
“Out in Time” looks at the life experiences of three generations of gay men –the Stonewall, AIDS, and Queer generations showing that while there are generational differences in the lived experiences of young gay men, each one confronts its own unique historical events, realities, and socio-political conditions, there are consistencies across time that define and unify the identity formation of gay men. The study here is guided by the vast research literature on gay identity formation and coming out, The ideas and themes explored here are seen through the oral histories of a diverse set of fifteen gay men, five from each generation. “Out in Time” shows how early life challenges define and shape the gay men, “demarcating both the specific time-bound challenges encountered by each generation, and the universal challenges encountered by gay men coming of age across all generations and the conditions that define their lives.”
Here voice is given to three generations of gay men, each generation from a wholly different social, political, and legal context. Through personal narratives, we see a complex thread of identities and life histories that make up today’s gay men. Most surprising are the many commonalities that Halkitis has drawn out from these men including their struggles and triumphs in a rapidly changing but still prejudicial society.
Perry Halkitis looks to repairing and building the LGBT community in the face of hostile political winds in the U.S. today. Through interviews with a diverse set of cisgender men, this book creates an intergenerational conversation that rarely happens in the gay male community. Ig connects gay men across generations in time and place and suggests still needs to be done.
Halkitis chronicles coming of age challenges, struggles, and accomplishments of a diverse group of gay men thus giving us an original and totally interesting read.