Lunchbox/Soapbox: Dennis Altman: The End of the Homosexual?
Dennis Altman reflects on decades of cultural and political change, both local and global, and considers the future of sexuality: is this the end of the homosexual that gay liberationists predicted 40 years ago?
Homosexuality has become a faultline for debates about western influence and human rights. In his new book The End of the Homosexual? – part memoir, part politics – Altman connects what has happened within the changing queer world over the past 40 years to larger social, political and cultural trends. Read an extract here.
Dennis Altman is professor of politics and director of the Institute for Human Security at LaTrobe University in Melbourne.
He is the son of Jewish refugees, and a writer and academic who first came to attention with the publication of his book Homosexual: Oppression & Liberation in 1972. This book, which has often been compared to Greer’s Female Eunuch and Singer’s Animal Liberation, was the first serious analysis to emerge from the gay liberation movement, and was published in seven countries, with a readership which continues today. (In 2012 University of Queensland Press issued a 40th anniversary edition, and an anthology based on the book, After Homosexual, was published in 2014.)
Since then, Altman has written 13 books exploring sexuality, politics and their interrelationships in Australia, the United States and now globally. These include The Homosexualization of America; AIDS and the New Puritanism; Rehearsals for Change; Gore Vidal’s America and Fifty First State?, as well as a novel (The Comfort of Men) and memoirs (Defying Gravity). His book Global Sex (Chicago U.P, 2001), has been translated into five languages including Spanish, Turkish and Japanese. Most recently has co-edited Why Human Security Matters (Allen & Unwin), Thinking Politically about HIV (Routledge) and How to Vote Progressive in Australia (Monash University Press). The End of the Homosexual? was published by UQP in 2013, and in 2016 Polity published Queer Wars (co-authored with Jonathan Symons).