Historian Allan Bérubé has been researching gays and lesbians during World War II, particularly gay men in the military. Bérubé began the research for the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay History Project, an oral history which collected stories from older gays and lesbians about life "pre-Stonewall." Bérubé's work was the covered in the Mother Jones article "Coming Out Under Fire."
Dr. Walter Lear is the founder and co-chair of the National Gay Health Coalition, the former state Health Commissioner, for Southeast Pennsylvania and the president and founder of the Institute of Social Medicine and Community Health in West Philadelphia. Dr. Nick Ifft is the secretary of Philadelphia Health Professionals for Human Rights (an organization of gay and lesbian physicians and dentists), the coordinator of the Philadelphia A.I.D.S. Task Force, and a general practitioner at South East Health Center in Philadelphia. The doctors join the show to discuss A.I.D.S.
Divine is known for acting in drag in John Waters' films. Divine has developed a club act which will play in Philadelphia and is publishing a paper-doll book. Divine's drag persona was developed with director and writer John Waters. A retrospective of Waters' films is currently playing in Philadelphia. The two join the show to discuss their careers, lives, and the public's reaction to their boundary-pushing films.
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.
Margo Howard, the daughter of the advice columnist Ann Landers, has written a new book about her mother. She joins Fresh Air's Terry Gross to discuss the growth of the the Dear Abby column's popularity and Landers' changing views over the decades.
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.
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.
Desmond Ryan is the film critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Ernie Schier is the film critic for the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, and Bill Van Wert is Fresh Air's film critic. They join the show to discuss their top ten lists for the best and worst films of 1980.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."