Gay Shame seeks to lift this unofficial ban on the investigation of homosexuality and shame by presenting critical work from the most vibrant frontier in contemporary queer studies. An esteemed list of contributors tackles a range of issues—questions of emotion, disreputable sexual histories, dissident gender identities, and embarrassing figures and moments in gay history—as they explore the possibility of reclaiming shame as a new, even productive, way to examine lesbian and gay culture.
“Gay Shame is an embarrassment of riches about the riches of embarrassment. As theatrical as they are theoretical, the essays collected here remind us of what we might like to forget: the powerful role of shame in gay lives, gay politics, and gay culture. Not just reflecting on shame but performing it as well, these angry, funny, sexy writings take us out of our comfort zones and put us back in touch with the queer pleasures of feeling bad.”
“What has been gained and what lost in insisting that we are proud to be gay? Are we losing our outsiderhood and do we want to? These were the questions that in 2003 brought a motley group of academics, performers, and activists to Ann Arbor, the home of an increasingly vibrant queer academic community. Fractious and infuriating, lively and fun, the Gay Shame Conference fulfilled the promise of its startlingly beautiful and disturbing poster that now hangs over my desk. If you couldn’t be there you now can share in the controversies and conversations over race, disability, aesthetics, history, and more through this important book and DVD, with additional essays that enrich the conference theme.”