Beyond the Closet
The Transformation of Gay and Lesbian Life
Routledge – 2004 – 256 pages
Routledge – 2004 – 256 pages
Gay life has become increasingly open in the last decade. In Beyond the Closet , Steven Seidman, a well-known author and leading scholar in sexuality, is the first to chronicle this lifestyle change and to look at the lives of contemporary gays and lesbians to see how their "out" status has changed. This compelling, well-written, and smart account is an important step forward for the gay and lesbian community.
"This elegant, engaging book by eminent social analyst Steven Seidman imaginatively charts the rise and demise of the era of the closet in gay history and politics…Eschewing polemics and posturing, Beyond the Closet provides a perfect antidote to mental mildew." -- Judith Stacey, author of In the Name of the Family
"Seidman's analysis of the closet, its dimensions, characteristics, and effects on its inhabitants is thoughtful and compelling. As a sociologist, Seidman has important insights to share on the way people adapt to their 'closets,' and how human identities are largely reactive and contextual." -- Lambda Book Report
"[A]n easily digested recent history of the gay movement…dips into popular culture and coming out stories to analyze the astonishingly swift changes in the quality of queer life." -- The Montreal Gazette
"Seidman's new book is perfectly constructed with just the right dosage of history and sociology…What makes this book invaluable, among other qualities, is Seidman's courageous non-avoidance of a key question." -- Cercles
"The moment of the closet may now have passed, but as Seidman shows, it continues to shadow many lives. However, the life chances of lesbians and gays have changed dramatically in recent years because of profound cultural changes in gay life and in wider patterns of intimacy. Seidman powerfully captures these changes, by allowing the voices of gays themselves to lead the presentation. The book vibrates with eloquence, pain, and passion. It combines rich interview material with a subtle but clear theoretical underpinning. This is a book both readable and illuminating." -- Jeffrey Weeks, author of Same Sex Intimacies: Families of Choice and Other Life Experiences
"Ambitious and important. Seidman makes a crucial contribution to understanding sexual citizenship in the 21st century." -- Steven Epstein author of Impure Science: AIDS, Activism and the Politics of Knowledge
"Steven Seidman's Beyond the Closet offers us a much-needed way out for achieving equality for gay people. His analysis is radical in spirit, yet conciliatory in style. This important book deserves a wide audience." -- Martin Duberman, Professor of History at CUNY and author of Cures: A Gay Man's Odyssey
"Seidman suggests there's been a profound shift in the meaning of gay and lesbian life. America has changed, calling into question the dominance of the closet and the division between the 'good heterosexual' and the 'polluted queer.' This is a powerful argument, theoretically sophisticated, empirically based, and compelling." -- Arlene Stein, author of Sex and Sensibility: Stories of a Lesbian Generation
Steven Seidman is Professor of Sociology at the State University of New York at Albany, and an expert on sexuality and social theory. His many books include Embattled Eros: Sexual Politics and Ethics in Contemporary America, Romantic Longings: Love in America, 1830-1980, and The Handbook of Gay and Lesbian Studies.