Blanche Wiesen Cook is the author of the new biography "Eleanor Roosevelt: Volume 2 1933-1938. (Viking) This edition covers The Great Depression, the New Deal, and the build-up to World War II. Cook a professor of history at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. She is author of "Eleanor Roosevelt," "Crystal Eastman on Women and Revolution," and "The Declassified Eisenhower."
Terry Gross speaks with transsexual artist Roberta Dickinson about transitioning. Later, doctors Terrence Malloy and James Gilfoil discuss transsexual identities, diagnoses and sexual reassignment surgery.
Scott Tucker of the Lavender Left, director of the Philadelphia Lesbian and Gay Task Force Rita Addessa, and Women Against Violence Against Women Member Peggy O'Donnell address the controversy behind William Friedkin's film Cruising, which stars Al Pacino as an undercover cop infiltrating the gay S&M scene in New York. The guests take a close look at the film's exaggerated and dehumanizing portrayal of gay people and discuss their planned protests. Fresh Air listeners call in with their questions and comments.
Edmund White traveled the United States to learn about the conditions of gay communities across the country. He talks about masculinity and sexual practices amongst gay men, as well as the rise of sadomasochistic culture.
Author John Rechy has made a career writing novels and nonfiction about gay men, particularly their sexual behavior. While critical of sadomasochism, he views promiscuity as a revolutionary act which signals a radical break from mainstream heterosexual behavior.
The novelist has a new novel set in Alabama which features, among other characters, two memorable prostitutes. Brown has also started writing for television. She talks about the increasing presence of gay people in mass media, and her own experiences as an out lesbian.
Randy Shilts has a new biography about Harvey Milk, the openly-gay mayor of San Francisco who was assassinated at the age of 48. Shilts details Milk's coming out later in life and his adroitness as a unity-building politician.
Novelist Edmund White's newest work, "A Boy's Own Story," follows a young gay man growing up in the midwest in the 1950s. The novel has some autobiographical elements. White joins the show to discuss his life, growing up as a homosexual person, and his novel.