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Queer in America Paperback – May 1, 1994

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Activist, writer and outing advocate Signorile's analysis of lesbian and gay public life and the modern gay rights movement coincides with the 25th anniversary of Stonewall.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

Best known as the ``pioneer of outing'' (identifying homosexuals in public life), gay activist-journalist Signorile (a columnist for The Advocate) offers no revelations in this angry memoir. A history of outing, primarily addressed to ``queers,'' it's a cry to break down the ``closets of power''--``to be out, proud, and queer in America.'' Evolving from a repressed and hypocritical young Italian male from Staten Island, Signorile became a provocateur, directing his anger against the power structures he considered responsible for the ``demonization'' and ``marginalization'' of gays: the religious right, the N.Y.C. media, the Washington political establishment, Hollywood. From his days in p.r., spent providing gossip for various columnists, the author learned to use the media and found that ``outing'' Malcolm Forbes, Cher's daughter, John Travolta, and Pete Williams (the Assistant Secretary of Defense during the Gulf War) gave gays a sense of dignity and affirmation that, he says, exceeded the right to privacy his victims claimed: Signorile draws a pointed analogy to what he calls Anita Hill's ``outing'' of Clarence Thomas. But the author's argument becomes sinister in its McCarthy-like allusions: tales of an unnamed ``closeted'' legislator, a Hollywood mogul, and a high-placed advisor to President Clinton who's ``still up to his old tricks''--which, in D.C., a city ``overflowing with queers,'' apparently means using sex to gain power. Signorile sees the gay power base shifting to Silicon Valley, where many gays have found refuge and success in computer technology: The video-display terminal, he says, will be ``the new battleground'' and electronic mail ``the ammunition.'' A call to arms that, for serious readers, raises important legal, ethical, and psychological issues, and, for gossips, offers an opportunity to identify new ``suspects.'' -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reissue edition (May 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038547377X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385473774
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,657,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

MICHELANGELO SIGNORILE is a journalist, commentator and author of several books, including the groundbreaking bestseller Queer in America. He is the host of the SiriusXM radio show "The Michelangelo Signorile Show" and an editor-at-large of Huffington Post Gay Voices. Signorile has written for dozens of magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, New York Magazine, The Advocate and The Village Voice.​

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rory on April 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
Never before did I have such a strong understanding of how the media and America's major power structures work until I read this book. In his unapoletic confrontational (and even gutsy) style, Signorile has stared down the actors, directors, politicians, writers, etc who'd prefer to sit silent as queers are beaten, taunted,denied housing,equal protection; as queers are denied their right exist. One of the most fascinating sections is the one on the New York power structure (I especially like the chapter explaining how ACT UP was created, from the grassroots up). If theres anything I disliked about this book, it's that too often Signorile contradicts his own beleifs: there are way too many times when instead of exposing gay public figures as gay, he allows them to remain anonymous.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
Signorile's ground-breaking text on the Closet and all its horror should be fundamental reading for everyone--gay or straight. Straight people may find the text particularly interesting in coming to understand why the closet exists, how it has manifest itself, and why it is very, very bad. Signorile has a lucid, provocative style--and each chapter is replete with intriguing perspectives on how the closet and homosexuals have functioned in Hollywood and the movies, New York and pop culture, and Washington and politics. Last is a Gay Manifesto--a kind of challenge for gays and straights alike to work together to destroy the closet for good. In the end, this will probably become a canonized work of 20th-century gay and lesbian writing. It does have a somewhat dated effect on readers today--the urgency for social change that underpins Signorile's text seems overly harsh for the '00s. Nonetheless, this is a must-read, absolutely.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sara Blatt on December 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
Before I read this book, I was vehemently opposed to the policy of "outing". Signorile wrote both so logically and so well that I was forced to think about this issue in some depth. Moreover, I came to be convinced by his arguments. I'm still not comfortable with this, but I think he's right. The closet destroys far too many people.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jesse Liberty VINE VOICE on November 7, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book was written a decade ago, and a final updated chapter was added last year. It is a fascinating look at the state of Queer America in the late 80's and early 1990's. More important, it is a powerful exploration of the devestating effects of the "closet" in the centers of power, especially Washington and Hollywood.

A compelling study of the effect of the closet on people in power and how they are twisted by the closet into actions that are devestating to their own lives and destructive to the GLBT community (can anyone say New Jersey?)

Signorile was instrumental in early Queer journalism, and was, once upon a time, excoriated for "outing" public figures. He explains the history and justification for this approach, and his arguments are more than convincing.

Highly recommended, required reading.
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