On and Off the Scene

Jessamy Harvey

  • Anti-Gay edited by Mark Simpson
    Cassell, 163 pp, £9.99, September 1996, ISBN 0 304 33144 9

The winter season’s ultimate accessory, Anti-Gay keeps popping up in the media as the book that is dividing the (for want of a neutral term) non-heterosexual community. With its yellow dust-jacket clamouring for attention, this collection of essays should be unmissable in the bookshops. The controversial title stands alone on the cover: who, one may wonder, is the intended reader? Perhaps a card-carrying bigot with the nerve to walk up to the counter, slap down some cash and say, ‘this is my kind of book,’ very loudly. Well, no, this is written for a post-everything kind of reader, one who requires a carefully chosen meta-narrative that can be smoked out of its hiding place, publicly disembowelled and then made extinct (it helps to be up on the latest PoMo-speak). In this case, the poor beast is ‘the feel-good-or-else politics that is associated with gay’. The contents would not appeal either to the traditional anti-gay campaigner or to the out and proud LesBiGay consumer. However, if you happen to be attracted to the same sex – some or all of the time – but the thought of belonging to a group is anathema, perhaps Anti-Gay is meant for you.

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