THE 20th century may be considered America’s greatest, but gay men had a miserable time. Sodomy was a felony in every state until 1962, and it remained illegal in 13 states until 2003. Gay men were sacked from jobs in government and left to die in an epidemic many considered a punishment for their “sinful” behaviour. They were hounded out of bars, the only public places they could be themselves. They were beaten and arrested by gangs of untouchable police (the same tactics are used today in many of the 72 countries that continue to criminalise homosexuality). In short, gay men were kept out of the portrait of American society.
Towards the end of the century, however, times were changing. The picture of acceptable America had expanded to include, even celebrate, some gay men. In particular Gianni Versace, a fashion designer from Italy, was able to let gay stigma slip like a silk gown to the floor. He had grown a business…Continue reading
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