Up from Invisibility

Lesbians, Gay Men, and the Media in America

Larry Gross

Columbia University Press

Up from Invisibility

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Pub Date: December 2001

ISBN: 9780231119535

320 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $32.00£26.95

Pub Date: December 2001

ISBN: 9780231119528

320 Pages

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List Price: $95.00£79.95

Pub Date: December 2001

ISBN: 9780231505086

320 Pages

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Pub Date: December 2001

ISBN: 9780231529327

320 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $31.99£26.95

Up from Invisibility

Lesbians, Gay Men, and the Media in America

Larry Gross

Columbia University Press

A half century ago gay men and lesbians were all but invisible in the media and, in turn, popular culture. With the lesbian and gay liberation movement came a profoundly new sense of homosexual community and empowerment and the emergence of gay people onto the media's stage. And yet even as the mass media have been shifting the terms of our public conversation toward a greater acknowledgment of diversity, does the emerging "visibility" of gay men and women do justice to the complexity and variety of their experience? Or is gay identity manipulated and contrived by media that are unwilling—and perhaps unable—to fully comprehend and honor it?

While positive representations of gays and lesbians are a cautious step in the right direction, media expert Larry Gross argues that the entertainment and news media betray a lingering inability to break free from proscribed limitations in order to embrace the complex reality of gay identity. While noting major advances, like the opening of the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookstore—the first gay bookstore in the country—or the rise of The Advocate from small newsletter to influential national paper, Gross takes the measure of somewhat more ambiguous milestones, like the first lesbian kiss on television or the first gay character in a newspaper comic strip.
A readable account of the gradual emergence of a gay-lesbian presence in news, entertainment, and advertising over the last fifty years. James Boylan, Columbia Journalism Review
This scholarly study is engaging and readable. Library Journal
Not only adds to our understanding of the culture but also encompasses material from an impressive number of venues that should be, but often are not, included in a book about the media. Roger Streitmatter, American University, Journal of Mass Communication Quarterly
Preface: Up from Invisibility
Sources
1. The Mediated Society
Mass Media and American Society
Television as the Mainstream
Sexual Minorities and the Media
Subversion and Resistance
2: Coming Out and Coming Together
The Homosexual in Midcentury America
Giving Voice to the Voiceless
Provoking Concern
The Voice Gets Louder
Coming Out in the Nation's Living Rooms
3: Stonewall and Beyond
Homo Nest Raided, Queen Bees Stinging Mad
Turning Their Condition into Politics
Expressing Outrage
Talking Back to the Media
4: At the Movies
A Queer Feeling Every Time I Look at You
"Show Me a Happy Homosexual and I'll Show You a Gay Corpse''
Friedkin Delivers Gay Corpses
Getting the Word Out
Gay Films for Straight Audiences
Universal or Particular?
5: Television Takes Over
New Medium, Old Message
No Sex, Please, We're Queer
6: AIDS and the Media
Rumors of a "Gay Cancer''
Circling the Wagons
Natural Squeamishness
Media Activism in a Crisis
7: Journalism's Closet Opens
Burying and Marrying
All the News Not Fit to Print
The Grey Lady Goes Gay
Coming Out in the Newsroom
8: Breaking the Code of Silence
Naming Names
Outing the Pentagon
Kinda Ask, Sorta Tell
9: Hollywood Under Pressure
AIDS Victims and Villains
A Kinder, Gentler Hollywood
Queering the Straight Text
10: Hollywood's Gay Nineties
"I feel pretty and witty and... Hey!''
Still Villainous After All These Years
Sad Young Men
Some of My Best Friends Are Celibate
11: Beyond Prime Time
Adam and Steve and Phil and Oprah
The Tongue-Tied Public Square
Getting Over the Rainbow
Locker-room Closets
12: Morning Papers, Afternoon Soaps
Coming Out in the Comics
You're the First Person I've Ever Told
13: Old Stories and New Technologies
The Good Parts
14: A Niche of Our Own
Movement to Market
Are We Being Served?
15: Facing the Future
Visibility and Its Discontents
Looking Backward
Somewhere There's a Place for Us

About the Author

Larry Gross is Sol Worth Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of Contested Closets: The Politics and Ethics of Outing, editor of Image Ethics: The Moral Rights of Subjects in Photographs, Film, and Television and On the Margins of Art Worlds, and coeditor (with the late James Woods) of The Columbia Reader on Lesbians and Gay Men in Media, Society, and Politics.