How To Be Gay
David M. Halperin has written a monumental work of non-fiction. In "How To Be Gay," he presents a voice of curiosity, knowledge, honesty and wit filled with research and reason. As a noted professor of "History and Theory of Sexuality" at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, his book eloquently gives pause and reflection on the variants involved and the positive and negatives in our time machine of being a homosexual. In detail, the book explores the emotional and personalized subjectivity in describing what is at the core of gay culture and the innermost feelings of what it is to be "gay."
As even the title of his book can be misconstrued in meaning, the sociological attributes of discussing gayness over a broad spectrum of ideas is also confounding. Yet, as Professor Higgins in "My Fair Lady" exclaims, "By George, I think she’s got it!" Or in this case, Halperin gets it. As a professor of long-standing, he initially elaborates on teaching the course titled "How To Be Gay" for seven years and shares both the rewards and tribulations. Then, he guides the reader through the countless and intricate details of deciphering the history and most importantly, the feelings, which go hand-in-hand with being gay.
Creatively and intellectually, chapters in "How To Be Gay" include discourse on the defense mechanisms of drag queens, why certain young boys hide their show tune collection, how the gay pendulum of "gay" swings both forward and back in time and the dissection of cultural "button-pushers" from "Steel Magnolias" or "Mommie Dearest" to "The Golden Girls" and, but of course... Judy Garland. His analysis is spot-on and the above items mentioned simply scratch the surface of Halperin’s dedicated and revealing expose, "How To Be Gay."
It is Halperin’s intent to create a serious dialogue, though there are many smiles to be had at the same time, while absorbing the process. "How To Be Gay" is both enlightening and refreshing in the personal discovery of self or for lack of a better phrase, the perfect way to understand the how, what, where and why "to turn your inner-gay on."
"How To Be Gay"
David M. Halperin
The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press