The Life and Death of the Homosexual Clone
Published by: NYU Press
274 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
- ISBN: 9780814746950
- Published: January 1998
Before gay liberation, gay men were usually perceived as failed men--"inverts," men trapped in women's bodies. The 1970s saw a radical shift in gay male culture, as a male homosexuality emerged that embraced a more traditional masculine ethos. The gay clone, a muscle-bound, sexually free, hard-living Marlboro man, appeared in the gay enclaves of major cities, changing forever the face of gay male culture.
Gay Macho presents the ethnography of this homosexual clone. Martin P. Levine, a pioneer of the sociological study of homosexuality, was among the first social scientists to map the emergence of a gay community and this new style of gay masculinity. Levine was a participant in as well as an observer of gay culture in the 1970s, and this perspective allowed him to capture the true flavor of what it was like to be a gay man before AIDS. Levine's clone was a gender conformist, whose masculinity was demonstrated in patterns of social interaction and especially in his sexuality. According to Levine, his life centered around the "four D's: disco, drugs, dish, and dick."
Later chapters, based on Levine's pathbreaking empirical research, explore some of the epidemiological and social consequences of the AIDS epidemic on this particular substratum of the gay community. Although Levine explicitly refuses to pathologize gay men afflicted with HIV, his work develops a scathing, feminist-inspired critique of masculinity, whether practiced by gay or straight men.
"This book seems destined to become a eulogy for the important contributions that Martin Levine made to the sociological study of sexuality, gender, and AIDS." ~Men and Masculinities