Sexual Ecology: The Birth of AIDS and the Destiny of Gay Men

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9780525941644: Sexual Ecology: The Birth of AIDS and the Destiny of Gay Men

Challenging current perceptions, a columnist draws on detailed research to demonstrate that well-intentioned attempts to combat social stigma have prevented successful research into the AIDS virus and have allowed the continued infection of thousands of gay men. Tour.

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Review:

There was a time, before AIDS, when gay male culture was often synonymous with multiple partners, bathhouses, and an emphasis on youth and physical beauty. Monogamy was identified with "straight" culture and therefore something to be resisted. Even when the AIDS epidemic was at its height, the gay community promoted condom use but did little to discourage risky behavior. In his groundbreaking book Sexual Ecology, author Gabriel Rotello views the epidemic in a new way: as part of an ecological system. Rotello's approach, while unique in the study of AIDS, is one familiar to the environmental movement. He sees the disease not as a discrete element, but as part of a system of "behaviors, thoughts and feelings that made gay culture so susceptible to AIDS."

Although Rotello aims his book primarily at a gay audience, Sexual Ecology has a wider appeal. His chronicle follows the growth of promiscuity among homosexual men through its promotion by bathhouse owners and the gay media. Equally fascinating is the current trend toward more mainstream values among many gay men. Finally, his suggestions for making gay culture sustainable (in the words of environmental science) instead of self-destructive provide serious food for thought and for debate.

About the Author:

Gabriel Rotello was the founding editor of Outweek Magazine.

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