Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?

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by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore

“You may have thought you understood human nature before you read this book; after reading it you will be humbled by all you failed to grasp until now.”–Edmund White

“These essays come like a plunge into a forest pool of revitalizing joy, honesty, and common sense. Read them. Now. No–not tomorrow. Now!”–Samuel R. Delany

Gay culture has become a nightmare of consumerism, whether it’s an endless quest for Absolut vodka, Diesel jeans, rainbow Hummers, pec implants, or Pottery Barn. Whatever happened to sexual flamboyance and gender liberation, an end to marriage, the military, and the nuclear family? As backrooms are shut down to make way for wedding vows, and gay sexual culture morphs into “straight-acting dudes hangin’ out,” what are the possibilities for a defiant faggotry that challenges the assimilationist norms of a corporate-cozy lifestyle?

Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots? challenges not just the violence of straight homophobia but the hypocrisy of mainstream gay norms that say the only way to stay safe is to act straight: get married, join the military, adopt kids! Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore reinvokes the anger, flamboyance, and subversion once thriving in gay subcultures in order to create something dangerous and lovely: an exploration of the perils of assimilation; a call for accountability; a vision for change.