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My Desire for HistoryEssays in Gay, Community, and Labor History$
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Allan Berube, John D'Emilio, and Estelle B. Freedman

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834794

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807877982_berube

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Resorts for Sex Perverts A History of Gay Bathhouses

Resorts for Sex Perverts A History of Gay Bathhouses

Chapter:
(p.67) Chapter 4 Resorts for Sex Perverts A History of Gay Bathhouses
Source:
My Desire for History
Author(s):

Allan Bérubé

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/9780807877982_berube.7

This essay describes how Berube devoted himself to historical research that was specifically sexual in its focus. The result was intervention in the public policy debates about how to respond to the epidemic. Based on another innovative slide lecture and first published in a San Francisco gay newspaper in the immediate wake of the city's closure of gay bathhouses, the essay builds on and extends the thematic concerns of the previous two essays. Here, Berube describes gay male sexuality and the places where it could be expressed as forms and sites of resistance. Sexual expression became a route to the creation of community, and the bathhouses proved to be key locations where this happened over time. Arguing that, in the past, attempts at repression have failed, Berube calls instead for more creative solutions that make use of gay male spaces such as bathhouses to educate the community about safer sex practices.

Keywords:   Berube, historical research, public policy debates, gay bathhouses, gay male sexuality

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