Tag Archives: Gay

Flog Seven: Heard It Through the GRAPEVINE

Title: The Grapevine: A Report on the Secret World of the Lesbian
Author: Jess Stearn
Year: 1964 (first edition)
Publisher: Doubleday & Company


Description: Hardbound in dust jacket.

Pagination: [10] 1-372

Contents: ‘As a reporter who had covered every type of assignment, Jess Stearn was perfectly aware that nobody had ever penetrated the secret world of lesbianism’.

Jess Stearn, leveraging his success and connections from The Sixth Man, an investigation into mid-century American gay male life, speaks with lesbians from across the USA and attends the convention of the Daughters of Bilitis, the ‘first lesbian civil and political rights organization in America’ (thus spoke Wikipedia).

Stearn discusses with a psychologist the causes of lesbianism (chapter title: ‘Why Oh Why?’), provides detailed descriptions of categories of ‘butch’ and ‘femme’, discloses the secrets of supposedly straight Hollywood sex symbols, and investigates the lives of married lesbians.

Throughout, Stearn is careful to assert his own heterosexuality:

‘More than once my own motivations were subjected to question. At a cocktail party, a sociologist, informed of my new project, remarked sourly, “Isn’t it strange that you should have written first about male homosexuality–and now lesbians?” “Not at all,” I answered lightly, ignoring the obvious innuendo. “I have lesbian tendencies.”‘

In many ways, the book reads like the ‘cony-catching’ or rogue pamphlets of the 1550s-1600s, the author-investigator leading the reader into the dark recesses of a secret underworld, explaining in-group terms and conventions (‘On Thursdays…multitudes of lesbians throughout the country wore a special color dress to identify themselves to other secret lesbians. In New York, Lost Angeles, and San Francisco, the cognoscenti wore green…’), feigning occasional moral disapproval while delivering to the titillated reader enticing details.

Condition: Light foxing to foredge. Dust jacket in good condition in protective wrapper. Light edge wear. Spine fading.

Price: £7.50 / $12 (+s&h)


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Flog Five: It’s a PRESENTATION

Title: Homosexual Behavior Among Males: A Cross-Cultural and Cross-Species Investigation
Author: Wainwright Churchill
: 1968 (first edition, second printing)
Publisher: Hawthorn Books

Description: Hardbound in green cloth, with dust jacket. Inscribed by author on front fly leaf.

Pagination: [1-8] 9-11 [12-14] 15-328 [329-330] 331-349 [350] [2]

Contents: ‘Recent scientific investigations into the sexual behavior of human and subhuman animals have demonstrated beyond all reasonable doubt that homosexual responsiveness is a component of mammalian sexuality’–so begins Wainwright Churchill’s ‘cross-cultural and cross-species’ investigation that claims to be (at the time) the ‘only comprehensive and objective study of male homosexual relations which approaches the subject as a fact of life rather than as a sin, crime or disease’.

This copy, the 1968 second printing, is inscribed by Wainwright Churchill to leading gay British activist A.E.G. Wright aka Antony Grey (1927-2010). The inside front cover contains Wright’s bookplate:

Condition: Volume is tight, clean, and crisp. DJ price clipped. DJ spine faded, with some tearing.

Price: £15 / $23.75 (+ s&h)

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Flog Three: The Gay AGENDA

Title: Grass Roots: A Campaign Manual for Gay People
Author: Bruce Galloway
: 1982
Publisher: Campaign for Homosexual Equality

Description: Softcover staple-bound booklet with light green covers.

Pagination: 1 [2] 3-72

Contents: Strident handbook for campaign organisers; a ‘how-to’ guide for your own local gay revolution.

‘Look around your town. Does it cater for gay people? Do homosexuals live openly as what they are, without fear of discrimination: losing their job, getting beaten up or insulted, harrassed by the police? Are gay children getting sex education that acknowledges their own sexual needs? Do gays have trouble getting somewhere to live? Are they condescended to by doctors and ministers, ignored in the Tourist Information brochures, fed lies about themselves by the books in the public library?…It is on these issues that gay women and men must campaign –as well as on that of legal equality’.

The book is in three sections: Campaigning methods (e.g. ‘The Letter’, ‘The Meeting’, ‘Direct Action’), Eleven Campaigns (public education, employment, libraries, schools, doctors, police, housing, public services, prisons, the church, the nation), & Basic Fact Sheets.

On libraries, the manual suggests four objectives: 1) Persuade the library to stock/order gay books for loan 2) Get gay periodicals into the reference section 3) Get information about local gay groups displayed on its public noticeboards 4) Check that library books on homosexuality do not contain homophobic material, or are classified homophobically.

The campaign guide provides the following tip:

‘A limited campaign with clear objectives: requires persistence, literary interest, persuasiveness and–for best results–a “spy” in the local library. Cultivate the Libraries Committee!’

You have been warned.

In addition to specific objectives for gay equality campaigns, Grass Roots praises the values of organisation and persistence:

Illustrations: Black & white cartoon drawings.

Condition: Covers worn and smudged. Staples rusting. Ink smudge on p. 60 upper corner. Original purchase receipt from Blackwell’s Bookshop included.

Price: £5 / $8 (+ s&h)

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