Way Back When

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In the middle of a digression on the bar scene in Kansas, Edmund White took a moment to question its authenticity:

Sometimes gay friends my age or older ask me if I ever miss the good-bad old days before gay liberation. Surely, they suggest, it was more fun in the Fifties when you had to sneak around and you felt you belonged to a secret fraternity.

His conjecture’s debatable, but White’s prose definitely isn’t; following the re-issue of States of Desire, BookForum has an excerpt from the ‘70s travelogue. White hits both corners of the country, chronicling homosexuality on both coasts, and just about every nook in between.


Bryan Washington has written for Puerto Del Sol, Ninth Letter, and Midnight Breakfast, among others; he's also the recipient of a Houstonia Fellowship. He lives around New Orleans. More from this author →