Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group


A History

Byrne Fone

Metropolitan Books




The first comprehensive history of homophobia-from ancient Athens to the halls of Congress-this bold, original work is certain to become a classic.

It is the last acceptable prejudice. In an age when racial and ethnic name-calling are viewed with distaste, and physical epithets are frowned upon, hatred of homosexuals remains rife. Now, in a tour de force of historical and literary research, Byrne Fone chronicles the evolution of homophobia through the centuries. Delving into literary sources as diverse as Greek philosophy, the Bible, Elizabethan poetry, and the Victorian novel, as well as historical texts and propaganda from the French Revolution to the Moral Majority, Fone finds that same-sex desire has always been the object of legal, social, and religious persecution. Fone shows how the biblical story of Sodom became the primary source for later prohibitions against homosexuality. He charts the subtle shifts in public attitudes and law, from Anglo-Saxon edicts that imposed death by burning upon "confess'd sodomytes," to Victorian decrees that punished sodomy with "forfeiture of all rights, including procreation" (i.e., castration). Sifting the evidence of our own times, including Reader's Digest articles and TV talk-show transcripts, Fone demonstrates that homophobia remains one of the central tenets of law, science, faith, and literature, and defines the very essence of what it means to be male or female. Written by an acclaimed expert in gay and lesbian history, Homophobia is the best sort of history: lively, accessible, and enlightening.



Before Homophobia?
"Homosexuality" and "Homophobia" in Antiquity
Chapter One
Inventing Eros
Nearly every age reinvents Greece in its own image. Rome appropriated Grecian...


Praise for Homophobia

“This sweeping introduction to homophobia throughout Western history offers an illuminating . . . way to survey the dimensions of acceptance.” —Alison Shonkwiler, Out Magazine

“At a time when the word 'homophobia' is dismissed by many as politically correct rhetoric, Fone's work remains a powerful introduction to the undeniable historical impact of the attitudes it describes.” —Publishers Weekly

“An important work, Homophobia: A History successfully records a portion of the often elusive past of a largely invisible and highly vilified minority.” —David Massengill, Seattle Weekly

“How did sex between men start out as an admired act of masculinity and end up as a shameful badge of effeminacy? How did homosexual love and sex, which were seen as important to the development of virtue, nobility, and the foundation of a strong society, become an enemy of the state? Fone answers these questions in exquisite detail with a masterful command of history, a balanced interpretation of contradictory documents, and an explosive set of assertions that fly against the conventional view of not just homophobes but of gay people themselves.” —Michael Alvear, Salon

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Byrne Fone

Byrne Fone, a pioneer in the teaching of gay and lesbian studies, is the author of three previous books, including A Road to Stonewall and editor of The Columbia Anthology of Gay Literature, which won a Lambda Award. Professor emeritus at the City University of New York, he lives in Hudson, New York.

Byrne Fone

From the Publisher

Metropolitan Books

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