Now We Have Seen The Epitome of Anti-Gay Hatred

Rich Juzwiak · 06/13/16 10:50AM

Before Sunday morning, the event that had the grave distinction of being the largest massacre of gay people in American history occurred June 24, 1973, at the Up Stairs Lounge in New Orleans. A fire, which a police and fire investigation eventually deemed arson, killed 32 people during a Sunday beer blast after a church service had been held in the space. The details contain gruesome stuff like bodies being melted together, as well as disgustingly sad anecdotes of love and failed heroism. Bartender Buddy Rasmussen successfully led a group of about 20 men out of a hidden fire exit onto the bar’s roof that provided safe access to the ground. Among the group was a man named George Mitchell. According to Jim Downs’s Stand By Me: The Forgotten History of Gay Liberation:

More Than Just Sex: A Conversation About an Alternative History of Gay Men in the '70s

Rich Juzwiak · 02/25/16 12:18PM

“Falling into the easy trap of foregrounding sex has the effect of erasing the nuance, the richness, and even the messiness of people’s lives,” writes professor of history at Connecticut College Jim Downs in his new book Stand By Me: The Forgotten History of Gay Liberation (out March 1). The book exists to highlight the nuance, the richness, and even the messiness of people’s lives by offering an alternate history of gay life in the ‘70s. Though the years leading up to the AIDS epidemic are largely thought of as a sexual free-for-all (as depicted in the 2005 documentary Gay Sex in the ‘70s, and Larry Kramer’s 1978 novel Faggots), clearly there was more going on than just fucking, and that’s where Downs comes in. He doesn’t negate the idea that lots of men had lots of sex in the ‘70s, he merely supplements it.