"As backrooms are shut down to make way for wedding vows, and gay sexual culture morphs into 'straight-acting dudes hangin’ out,' what are the possibilities for a defiant faggotry that challenges the assimilationist norms of a corporate-cozy lifestyle?"
Who wouldn't want 232 pages exploring the downside of gay mainstreaming? The subject is so crucial I wish the entire book was written by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, but I'm still intrigued by the anthology she's pulled together. Reviewing Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?: Flaming Challenges to Masculinity, Objectification, and the Desire to Conform, PW said, "A distinctive collection of essays by gay and transgender activists, performance artists, and scholars embraces the subversive aspects of queer identity and rails against its “sanitized, straight-friendly version.” Some essays are personal observations of lives on the margins, such as Ezra RedEagle Whitman’s attempts to reconcile his homosexuality with Native American conceptions of manliness, or Booh Edouardo’s experiences as an autistic transgender man interacting with mainstream gay peers. Others focus more on general trends in gay culture, such as Michael J. Faris and ML Sugie’s discussion of racial preferences and prejudices on hookup sites, or George Ayala and Patrick Hebert’s examination of the role of the arts in building community among HIV positive men. Some stories are disheartening, like Matthew Blanchard’s reflections on his hospitalization and disfigurement after many years of drug-fueled indiscriminate, unsafe sex. Others are much more hopeful, like Kristen Stoeckeler’s observations on drag queen and king performers and their playful yet serious blurring of the lines between male and female. Just as the battle for LGBTQ civil rights continues, these essays—alternately moving and sprightly, contemplative and outraged—display the power of presenting an alternative to the mainstream: a world of greater tolerance, acceptance, support, and creativity."
Samuel Delany blurbed it:"These essays come like a plunge into a forest pool of revitalizing joy, honesty, and common sense. Read them. Now. No—not tomorrow. Now!"
Edmund White wrote,"You may have thought you understood human nature before you read this book; after reading it you will be humbled by all you failed to grasp until now. America invented identity politics but here those identities have been multiplied and articulated as never before."
Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots continues the themes of another anthology Mattilda edited, That's Revolting!: Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation [Kindle].
The new book comes from AK Press which is literally run by anarchists. In that light, the confusion over its publication is cool. Their site lists the release as Jan 12, 2011 [sic?]; Amazon and B&N have it as Jan 31, 2012 but both retailers are already selling it online; and Mattilda's blog says the book will be released Feb 14, 2012. Worse, none of the sites offers a list of contributors or the table of contents. See Mattilda's massive west coast tour if you can.