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If Memory ServesGay Men, AIDS, and the Promise of the Queer Past$
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Christopher Castiglia and Christopher Reed

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816676101

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816676101.001.0001

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Battles over the Gay past

Battles over the Gay past

De-generation and the Queerness of Memory

(p.39) 1. Battles over the Gay past
If Memory Serves

Christopher Castiglia

Christopher Reed

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter examines two contradicting perspectives of two gay men from different generations regarding gay sexual culture during the 1960s to 1970s. The first one argues that during the peak of gay culture, gay men did not care about whether or not they would be infected by AIDS from unprotected sex, instead they looked forward to the enjoyment the intimacy brought to them in public sex spaces; this narrative is dubbed as the desirable narrative “queer” sexual culture. The second one counter-argues that the promiscuity during the 1960s paved the way for unhealthy sexual relations that resulted in the spread of AIDS, thus only focusing on the negative effects of sexual relations. Neoconservative gay journalist Gabriel Rotello, and Leo Bersani’s essay “Is the Rectum a Grave?” (1987) and Gregg Araki’s film The Living End (1992) supported the second gay man’s claim.

Keywords:   gay men, gay sexual culture, 1960s, 1970s, Gabriel Rotello, Leo Bersani, Gregg Araki

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