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Life Outside: The Signorile Report on Gay Men: Sex, Drugs, Muscles, and the Passages of Life

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Popular Out magazine columnist Michelangelo Signorile investigates the hot-button issues confronting gay men today. "Exhaustively researched, surpassingly perceptive." --New York magazine"Life Outside bravely advances a critique of the attitudes and ideologies that have shaped the gay 'scene' and merits the attention of a broad audience for its courage and informativeness." - Popular Out magazine columnist Michelangelo Signorile investigates the hot-button issues confronting gay men today. "Exhaustively researched, surpassingly perceptive." --New York magazine"Life Outside bravely advances a critique of the attitudes and ideologies that have shaped the gay 'scene' and merits the attention of a broad audience for its courage and informativeness." --New York Times Book Review "A stunning expose. Gay men should be handed three things when they come out of the closet: a box of condoms, a videocassette of George Cukor's The Women, and a copy of Life Outside." --The Advocate Michelangelo Signorile galvanized a generation of lesbians and gay men when he took on the "closets of power" in his 1992 classic Queer in America. Now, in Life Outside, he offers an expose of what he calls the "cult of masculinity" within contemporary gay male culture, while finding hope and renewal in other aspects of gay life. He reveals the origins of the current obsession in much of the gay community with an impossible physical ideal and explores the malevolent commercialization of gay sex. Life Outside also identifies another, more positive phenomenon in the gay male world. With the expansion of the gay movement, with more gays coming out--and remaining--in suburban, small-town, and rural America, the urban "scene" is no longer setting the standard for what it is to be gay in America. With the "deghettoization" and "deurbanization" of homosexuality, we find men who challenge long-held assumptions about being gay, relationships, and coping with growing older. With first-person accounts from men who are moving into midlife with pride and vitality, Signorile points the way for all gay men to face the passages of life with a new maturity.


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Popular Out magazine columnist Michelangelo Signorile investigates the hot-button issues confronting gay men today. "Exhaustively researched, surpassingly perceptive." --New York magazine"Life Outside bravely advances a critique of the attitudes and ideologies that have shaped the gay 'scene' and merits the attention of a broad audience for its courage and informativeness." - Popular Out magazine columnist Michelangelo Signorile investigates the hot-button issues confronting gay men today. "Exhaustively researched, surpassingly perceptive." --New York magazine"Life Outside bravely advances a critique of the attitudes and ideologies that have shaped the gay 'scene' and merits the attention of a broad audience for its courage and informativeness." --New York Times Book Review "A stunning expose. Gay men should be handed three things when they come out of the closet: a box of condoms, a videocassette of George Cukor's The Women, and a copy of Life Outside." --The Advocate Michelangelo Signorile galvanized a generation of lesbians and gay men when he took on the "closets of power" in his 1992 classic Queer in America. Now, in Life Outside, he offers an expose of what he calls the "cult of masculinity" within contemporary gay male culture, while finding hope and renewal in other aspects of gay life. He reveals the origins of the current obsession in much of the gay community with an impossible physical ideal and explores the malevolent commercialization of gay sex. Life Outside also identifies another, more positive phenomenon in the gay male world. With the expansion of the gay movement, with more gays coming out--and remaining--in suburban, small-town, and rural America, the urban "scene" is no longer setting the standard for what it is to be gay in America. With the "deghettoization" and "deurbanization" of homosexuality, we find men who challenge long-held assumptions about being gay, relationships, and coping with growing older. With first-person accounts from men who are moving into midlife with pride and vitality, Signorile points the way for all gay men to face the passages of life with a new maturity.

30 review for Life Outside: The Signorile Report on Gay Men: Sex, Drugs, Muscles, and the Passages of Life

  1. 4 out of 5

    Douglas Gibson

    Slightly dated, but mostly b/c we have made more progress since this book was written, but it was still life changing and affirming for me!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michael Andersen-Andrade

    Written twenty years ago, some parts may be dated, but there's still much that's relevant and worth reading. I became interested in this book after reading a reference to a chapter on "The Lonely Old Queen", and shortly after found it in the book section of my local thrift store. As someone who entered the gay scene at age 20 in the mid-1970's in San Francisco and Manhattan, this book was a look back at gay life in the 70's, 80's and 90's. While much has changed since then, many of the inherent Written twenty years ago, some parts may be dated, but there's still much that's relevant and worth reading. I became interested in this book after reading a reference to a chapter on "The Lonely Old Queen", and shortly after found it in the book section of my local thrift store. As someone who entered the gay scene at age 20 in the mid-1970's in San Francisco and Manhattan, this book was a look back at gay life in the 70's, 80's and 90's. While much has changed since then, many of the inherent issues of being gay--the insecurity, the cult of youth and beauty, the relationship pitfalls, etc.--that are covered in this book are universal and are still relevant today. On a personal note, I'm happy I escaped the dreadful "circuit queen" stage when I was young. The Gay Circuit (think "White Party" in Palm Springs) and all its horrors (narcissism, steroids, drugs, muscle queens, unsafe sex) are heavily featured in this book as an example of an unhealthy gay lifestyle, as opposed to developing a "life outside" the gay ghetto/circuit. I wondered if the Circuit still existed, and so I Googled it and see it's still alive. I learned early on that the Castro and Village bar scenes were full of landmines, and I escaped both the plague and the vacuousness by getting out of the ghetto and traveling to and living in cultures that don't glorify beauty and youth at the expense of everything else, without ever losing my pride in being gay. And as a gay man about to turn 63, I say to young gay men that aging is not the nightmare they imagine if they develop a rich inner life while they are younger that will carry them forward.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

    It's one of the first books I picked up amid my coming out, so it scared the shit outta me and influenced me significantly for years thereafter, and over the long term (the next ten years at least) that influence became entrenched in ways more theoretical than experiential. I focused on the 'cult of masculinity' when I looked around me and avoided both circuit parties and all drugs, thanks to this book. It's one of the first books I picked up amid my coming out, so it scared the shit outta me and influenced me significantly for years thereafter, and over the long term (the next ten years at least) that influence became entrenched in ways more theoretical than experiential. I focused on the 'cult of masculinity' when I looked around me and avoided both circuit parties and all drugs, thanks to this book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Walt Odets

    This is an insightful piece of work that should be read by young and old.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Michael Porter

    This book was published in 1997, and that doesn't seem that long ago, really, but in fact it was 17 years ago, and it showed. This book is very dated and much of it no longer applies in 2014, and least in my life it doesn’t. The majority of this book was regarding Circuit Queens. These are young muscle bound men who work out daily and take drugs (Steroids), so they can get bigger. Getting bigger and bigger and thus doing so much damage to their bodies. As a Gay Man approaching 60, I can tell you This book was published in 1997, and that doesn't seem that long ago, really, but in fact it was 17 years ago, and it showed. This book is very dated and much of it no longer applies in 2014, and least in my life it doesn’t. The majority of this book was regarding Circuit Queens. These are young muscle bound men who work out daily and take drugs (Steroids), so they can get bigger. Getting bigger and bigger and thus doing so much damage to their bodies. As a Gay Man approaching 60, I can tell you I don't know anyone like this. I may have one Facebook Friend who would meet this standard, but I don't think he meets it all that well. I almost gave up on this book; because I thought Mr. Signorile spend too much time on a tiny percent of the Gay People in the United States. Even during the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, I can't say I ran into any of these people, but then again, I was never attracted to drugs. But, the last chapter was the best and it will hold up for a long long time. It’s called THE DEATH OF THE LONELY OLD QUEEN. I don't believe she is dead, but I think that it does depend on the person. I live in Dallas, Texas and for some reason the Old and Young mingle here, there are just a few place I do not go, because I do not feel welcome. But, there are scores of places I can do to and have good time, and no one judges me on my age, weight, or my overall beauty. We all know that Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder, so I would not expect anyone to judge me there. While this chapter doesn’t unnecessarily apply to me; I do know a lot of Gay Men, in their 40’s 50’s and 60’s trying hold on to their 20’s. It doesn’t work, and it doesn't look good. I believe that this book is out of print, and there is really no reason for you to go out a look for it, unless you are turning 39 and are beginning to worry about old age. Then maybe, and only maybe, should buy or borrow the book for the last chapter.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Michael Estey

    Life Outside Michelangelo Signorile The book, Life Outside written by Michelangelo Signorile, is now a history book. Things have changed since this book has been written. Written in the late 90‘s. Documenting, what life for the gay male in North America, was really like during the 70’s and 80’s, post AIDS, up until the cocktail which again re-shaped gay culture in the late 90’s, with a false sense that the cocktail was a cure and the AIDS crisis was now over. A fallacy. An in depth look into gay c Life Outside Michelangelo Signorile The book, Life Outside written by Michelangelo Signorile, is now a history book. Things have changed since this book has been written. Written in the late 90‘s. Documenting, what life for the gay male in North America, was really like during the 70’s and 80’s, post AIDS, up until the cocktail which again re-shaped gay culture in the late 90’s, with a false sense that the cocktail was a cure and the AIDS crisis was now over. A fallacy. An in depth look into gay culture during those trying times. The escapism, why every major city in the United States, were and still are having huge parties, and wild orgies with thousands of gay men, high on recreational drugs. (Crystal Meth, Cocaine, Ecstasy, etc.) The white parties of Palm Springs, Miami, LA, San Francisco, Fire Island, Provincetown, even here in Vancouver. The belief in the Image, and the strive for that ideal body using steriods at the gym. Muscles, short haircuts, no body hair, clones. The increase in casual sex with or without a condom. It might make you sit back and reflect. Has much changed, since? Well written, and in depth reporting. A good read, even though a little out dated, but relevant for today. Dog Brindle.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Charles Smith

    Signorile points out in the introduction that his study is not meant to "encompass all of urban gay life." The world he describes in the first half of the book represents "one predominantly white, middle-class and often upper-middle-class segment of urban gay life" whose inhabitants, despite that demographic, have "a significant cultural influence on much of the gay population throughout its various racial, social, and sexual subcultures." Divided into two sections--"Life Inside" and "Life Outsid Signorile points out in the introduction that his study is not meant to "encompass all of urban gay life." The world he describes in the first half of the book represents "one predominantly white, middle-class and often upper-middle-class segment of urban gay life" whose inhabitants, despite that demographic, have "a significant cultural influence on much of the gay population throughout its various racial, social, and sexual subcultures." Divided into two sections--"Life Inside" and "Life Outside"--the book offers us a disturbing and more honest portrait of a community populated by many men enslaved to the notion of masculine beauty and its attainment. Although the first half of "Life Outside" (dealing with the sex, drugs, and hedonism of the fast lane) is the most riveting part of the book, Signorile's efforts have produced a work of journalism that is highly informative, cautionary, and encouraging. It is an important blueprint for any gay man who wants to "find another way" to live his life. This excerpt is from an unpublished review I wrote in 1997 for Whazzup! magazine,an African-American publication that was based in Oakland, California.The full review was posted on www.urbanbookmaven.blogspot.com on January 2, 2013.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Signorelle has always been outspoken and therefore contreversial. this is probably because he is usually espousing a common sensical truth that most people (gay and straight alike) would rather not acknowledge. Though this book is perhaps less strident than his work in other media it is no less impassioned. Tackling a broad spectrum of topics relevant to gay men of all ages, he takes a balanced view after much presenting detailed research. His ability to capture actual interviewees own words is Signorelle has always been outspoken and therefore contreversial. this is probably because he is usually espousing a common sensical truth that most people (gay and straight alike) would rather not acknowledge. Though this book is perhaps less strident than his work in other media it is no less impassioned. Tackling a broad spectrum of topics relevant to gay men of all ages, he takes a balanced view after much presenting detailed research. His ability to capture actual interviewees own words is particularly effective. Though critical, he is equally hopeful and ultimately instructive. The book was published in 1997 and at times in the light of recent history it can seem somewhat dated. But it also gives the reader a unique viewpoint -- i.e. the ability to see if MS' possible projected futures are accurate. And for the most part they are.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dan Humphrey

    Helped me get through a rough period in my belated adolescence in San Francisco. It's been a while, but I'd venture it's still relevant. Helped me get through a rough period in my belated adolescence in San Francisco. It's been a while, but I'd venture it's still relevant.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Carson Crandall

  11. 4 out of 5

    Justin

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tristan Bridges

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nick

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bill Colburn

  15. 5 out of 5

    HT

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nathaniel

  17. 5 out of 5

    Robert

  18. 5 out of 5

    Brian Grindstaff

  19. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sergio

  21. 4 out of 5

    Remy

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mark

  23. 5 out of 5

    Gregory Broderick

    Would love to read this

  24. 5 out of 5

    Casey

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mark Murashige

  26. 5 out of 5

    T B

  27. 4 out of 5

    James Hunt

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lyle

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rambling Reader

  30. 4 out of 5

    B.B.

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