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The Lavender Locker Room: 3000 Years of Great Athletes Whose Sexual Orientation Was Different Paperback – November 1, 2006

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Speculating about who's gay and who isn't has long been a pastime of gossip columnists, gay activists and sports fans. This chatty and informed, if inconclusive, three-millennium survey of queer sports figures holds some surprises, but they aren't contemporary baseball players or figure skating champions. Warren, who gained fame with her 1974 novel about an openly gay track star (The Frontrunner), doesn't aim for inclusiveness, but she is iconoclastic. Beginning with Achilles and Patroclus, she jumps to Joan of Arc (renowned for her jousting ability), and then George Villiers, duke of Buckingham, one of Europe's first horse breeders when he wasn't dating James I. Twentieth-century figures include Big Bill Tilden, who reinvented men's tennis in 1919 before his career was ruined by a teenage male prostitute; aviator Amelia Earhart, tennis star Martina Navratilova and football player Dave Kopay. Warren essentially uses these sports heroes as an excuse for a series of witty, well-written meditations on such topics as same-sex love—or the lack of it—in movies like Brokeback Mountain and Troy; on gladiators as sex symbols; the importance of fencing in the Harry Potter series; and the politics of hormone testing for women athletes. $30,000 marketing budget. (Nov.)
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About the Author

Patricia Nell Warren is the landmark author of some of the most popular gay novels of all time. Each of her books has been a milestone in America's understanding and acceptance of GBLT themes. Her most renowned work, The Front Runner, has sold an estimated eleven million copies in eleven languages. The first modern story about gay love to become an international bestseller, Warren's celebrated saga of an ex-Marine track coach and his Olympics-bound athlete has engaged and inspired both gay and mainstream readers for over a quarter of a century. Warren's novels have also sold heavily to libraries and are used in numerous college courses. Wildcat Press is Ms. Warren's exclusive imprint, offering some of the best in enduring gay literature. Established in 1993, the dynamic independent publisher has released both past and present bestsellers, winning it critical acclaim. Current titles include, The Front Runner, Billy's Boy, Harlan's Race, The Fancy Dancer, The Beauty Queen, One Is The Sun, and The Wild Man. Dedicated to furthering free speech, Wildcat Press has been one of the plaintiffs for the ACLU in several recent landmark lawsuits, two of which went to the United States Supreme Court. Wildcat maintains that we are all one community regardless of race, creed, or sexual orientation, and that tolerance brings understanding and acceptance.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 345 pages
  • Publisher: Wildcat Press; 1st edition (November 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1889135070
  • ISBN-13: 978-1889135076
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,118,633 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Gary F. Taylor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
Best known as the author of THE FRONT RUNNER, Patricia Nell Warren's work as a novelist has a distinctly muscular quality; THE LAVENDER LOCKER ROOM, however, shows her at her informal best and is more akin to sitting across the table from the lady as she ruminates on what it means to be both athlete and homosexual, contemplating past and present, shifting easily between mythology, rumor, and hard fact.

The result is as entertaining as it is informative--and, like most of Warren's writings, will no doubt light a fire under the backside of those who have never examined gender stereotypes. Warren opens with reflections on The Iliad's ancient tale of Achilles and Patroclus, indicating the nature of male sexuality in the ancient world (and taking a few swipes at such films as TROY, which go into over-drive to avoid the homo-eroticism involved.) More particularly, however, Warren offers the story to make a very interesting point: sports as we now think of them arose from the military.

Warren elaborates the thought in a series of reflections on such figures as the mysterious Joan of Arc, Roman gladiators, the legendary Amazons, and the equally legendary Sir Lancelot--and then introduces the first person in the text that we know beyond doubt was both real and really gay: Richard Coeur de Leon, who was not only a great swordsman but also rather notorious in his choice of bedmates. Having set the stage, she then runs the gamut from George Villers, lover of King James I and the man who helped lay the foundations of modern equestrian sport, to David Kopay, NFL running back, whose admission of homosexuality created a tremendous scandal in the mid-1970s.
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Format: Paperback
Though I've been a fan of Patricia Nell Warren ever since I read _The Front Runner_ back in 1974, this book was even better than I expected. It consists of a dozen and a half chapters, each on a particular sport and the gay men and lesbians who excelled in it. The subject of athletics is dear to the heart of Warren, who grew up in a family of jocks, on a large ranch in Montana. She herself became a long-distance runner, who helped open up the longer races to women.

When I first opened _The Lavender Locker Room_, I was tempted to read only the ones on sports I was interested in. But when I got into it, I found every single chapter so interesting -- and each of the chapters so different from the others -- that I didn't skip anything, and was sorry there weren't more when I came to the end of the book.

The _Iliad_, written about 22 centuries ago, is one of the supreme masterpieces of world literature. Warren demonstrates that the love between Achilles and Patroclus, both formidable warriors, is at the very heart of the _Iliad_. The _Iliad_ also has the first literary depiction of an athletic competition, the funeral games for Patroclus. To her chagrin (and mine) the recent movie, Troy (with Achilles played by a 40-year old Brad Pitt), blanked out male love and omitted the athletic games.

Her other "pre-modern times" chapters -- jousting, fencing, and horse racing -- have much new information. I never imagined, from either my _Boy's King Arthur_ or from Malory, that there were female jousters -- though, come to think of it, there are female warriors in Ariosto's 16th century epic poem, _Orlando Furioso_.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book as I expected from Patricia Nell Warren. She only writes good books.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Patricia puts a deep amount of research into this enlightening and fun read.
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