In the 1970s, queer people were openly despised, and drag queens scared the public. Yet this was the era when Doris Fish (born Philip Mills in 1952) painted and padded his way to stardom. He was a leader of the generation that prepared the world not just for drag queens on TV but for a society that is more tolerant and accepting of LGBTQ+ people. How did we get from there to here? In Who Does That Bitch Think She Is? Craig Seligman looks at Doris’ life to provide some answers.
After moving to San Francisco in the mid-’70s, Doris became the driving force behind years of sidesplitting drag shows that were loved as much as you can love throwaway trash—which is what everybody thought they were. No one, Doris included, perceived them as political theater, when in fact they were accomplishing satire’s deepest dream: not just to rail against society, but to change it.
From the rise of drag shows to the obsession with camp to the conservative backlash and the onset of AIDS, Seligman adds needed color and insight to this era in LGBTQ+ history, revealing the origins and evolution of drag.
“Newton’s fascinating book shows how study of the extraordinary can brilliantly illuminate the ordinary–that social-sexual division of personality, appearance, and activity we usually take for granted.”–Jonathan Katz, author of Gay American History
“A trenchant statement of the social force and arbitrary nature of gender roles.”–Martin S. Weinberg, Contemporary Sociology
Gay New York brilliantly shatters the myth that before the 1960s gay life existed only in the closet, where gay men were isolated, invisible, and self-hating. Drawing on a rich trove of diaries, legal records, and other unpublished documents, George Chauncey constructs a fascinating portrait of a vibrant, cohesive gay world that is not supposed to have existed. Called “monumental” (Washington Post), “unassailable” (Boston Globe), “brilliant” (The Nation), and “a first-rate book of history” (The New York Times), Gay New Yorkforever changed how we think about the history of gay life in New York City, and beyond.
For over fifty years William Yang has photographed gay and lesbian life in Australia, documenting culture and subculture through the lens of his own Chinese-Australian heritage. This book is filled with his candid images of couples, parties and gatherings where diverse expressions of sexuality are explored and celebrated.