The Culture of Queers
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For around a hundred years up to the Stonewall riots, the word used for gay men was 'queers'. In The Culture of Queers, Richard Dyer traces the contours of queer culture, examining the differences and continuities with the gay culture which succeeded it.
Opening with a discussion of the very concept of 'queers', Dyer asks what it means to speak of a sexual grouping having a culture, and addresses issues such as gay attitudes to women and the notion of camp. From screaming queens to sensitive vampires and sad young men, and from pulp novels to pornography to the films of Fassbinder, The Culture of Queers explores the history of queer arts and media.
friend, the boxer Kid Surroca, they perform various acts of sabo-tage until they are betrayed in the act of blowing up a train carrying the dictator and are executed. In one incident, Lluis, a drag artiste, uses his cross-dressing skills to distract the guard of a small arsenal they wish to rob; he dresses as a peasant woman, hysterically giggling ‘No’ as he rolls in the grass with Alberto, counting on the guard’s voyeurism and delight in seeing a woman taken against her declared wishes, and thus
adopts a style that is understood within and by the film to be a queer one. Part of the trajectory of the film is Lluis’s insistence on bringing that style into the rest of his life, which is also the film bringing it into the mise en scène of heritage. In one sequence Lluis is hauled out of the club while still in drag, beaten up and left outside the door of his flat, his assailants ringing the bell so that his mother will find him and his humiliation will be complete; however, he runs off
this would ignore key overlap figures, it is a real difference of tendency between the two. 26 T H E P O L I T I C S O F G A Y C U L T U R E The radical gay cultures relate in different ways to the traditional, now working on it, now ignoring it and finding a more valid reference point in progressive and alternative cultural modes outside the gay world. The kind of politics that informs this radical gay culture has also had an impact on the continued life of the traditional culture. It has
bisexual but, either, as Marlowe notes, a good guy, not wishing to betray General Sternwood with his own daughter, or else, simply not fancying her). We simply don’t know. Tommy Udo, General Sternwood and Sean Regan are at the very least plausibly read as queers, but other proposed instances might raise eyebrows. Mike Lagana in The Big Heat (1953) dresses well, with a carnation in his buttonhole; he has a portrait of his late mother over his fireplace, a good-looking manservant wakes him in the
we make it so as we read it, or are disappointed or pleasantly surprised to find it at variance to the cover. Particularly striking with the sad young man is the negative impression of the covers and the often far more upbeat and positive text inside, where the ecstasy of homosexual love, the unfairness of social attitudes and the fun of camp culture are all to varying degrees suggested. The explanation of the gap between cover and text is to be found not only in the habit of lying that