Essay on Discuss Homosexuality in the Beat Generation

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"In the age that coined the word "togetherness" as a synonym for family values, the Beats, each in his own style mounted the first open, sustained assault in American history on the masculine role as heterosexual spouse, father and grown-up provider. In the midst of the Cold War crusade against all deviations from the masculine norm, in the era that could almost be said to have invented the idea of classified information, they openly addressed homosexuality, bisexuality, and masturbation in their work, declassifying the secrets of the male body, making sexuality as complex as individual identity and pushing their chosen forms to new limits in the process" (Ann Douglas)

Discuss with reference to one or more authors.

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This posits the idea that cultural historians were accurate in suggesting that this was a "crucial decade for the politicization of homosexuality."

The 1950's were in fact the turning point of change. `The Mattachine Foundation', later re-named `The Mattachine Society', was one of the earliest gay organisations set up by Harry Hay in 1950. It's aim was to raise consciousness among gay men, challenge anti-gay discrimination and build a positive homosexual community and culture. This proved nothing less than an arduous struggle with much opposition, illustrated by the infamous `Stonewall' night. A night that set America alight with gay rights and conflicts. The name `Mattachine' was meant to symbolise that fact that "gays were a masked people, unknown and anonymous." This illustrates the traditional 1950's attitude towards homosexuality; the problem was thought to cease to exist if ignored. Homosexuals were un-natural, sacrilegious, and in need of control and subjugation.

These movements, although insurgent, had little impact upon attitudes, particularly in the literary world. The question of homosexuality was still a taboo issue, not discussed or entertained; "what's striking about "America" is the lack of a specifically sexual politics." Stimpson sees it as "an American fear of men together, which the curse `Queer'

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