STAND BY ME book reading and Q&A with Jim Downs
THE LAVENDER EFFECT and Los Angeles County Library present a new book reading and Q&A with acclaimed historian Jim Downs, author of STAND BY ME: The Forgotten History of Gay Liberation (Basic Books; March 1, 2016), This free event will take place at the West Hollywood Library on June 16th from 7:30 to 9:00 PM.
On the evening of June 24, 1973, a fire tore through a bar in New Orleanss French Quarter where a group of gay men were meeting for a religious service. Thirty-two died in the blaze. Though it was the largest massacre of gay people in American history, no one called it a tragedy. And no one tried to understand the purpose of the meeting, it was a religious service. The men were part of a growing religious movement that developed in the 1970s that has been since forgotten and overshadowed by the HIV epidemic of the 1980s.
Jim Downs uses the story of that fateful night as a jumping off point for a wide-ranging narrative revealing that gay life in America in the 1970s was far richer and more varied than has been remembered. In short, gay life in that decade was about far more than just sex. He shows us gay people standing togetheras friends, fellow believers, and colleaguesto create a sense of community among people who felt alienated from mainstream American life. Yet their accomplishments were forgotten, and the results of the forgetting have been profoundly damaging; when AIDS erupted into American life and consciousness in the early 1980s, antigay moralizers pointed to the gay lifestylegay sexas the culprit. This narrative eventually became the dominant one among doctors, public health advocates, policymakers, journalists, and even gay people themselves. And the assumptions of that time have survived into our own.
Space is limited, so please reserve your free seats today!
City of West Hollywood Library (View)
625 North San Vicente Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA 90069
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