The Gay Ones
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Casey told me she still calls her friends a band of misfits. Yet at Fran's, they always seem to fit. They looked for a new place, but nothing ever felt as comfortable as that old bar with the pool table and the stage, not far from King's Beach. We wandered her old haunt as she reminisced one Friday this summer. She recognized every single name on the bricks. Lisa Ryan. Jimmy Doyle. This was her Cheers, where her friends threw her 50th surprise birthday party. We saw marriages, we saw break-ups, we saw losses of loved ones.
While researching at the History Project, a Boston-based archive devoted to preserving LGBTQ history, I sifted through two boxes full of tapes and transcripts from the '80s about the evolution of the locale. Academics and historians did extensive interviews with regulars at the time. Word spread quietly that this small eatery was a beacon for gay folks. In this pre-Stonewall era, even dancing with someone of the same sex could get one arrested.
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One woman quoted in the paper said she heard about the Lighthouse while spending time in a mental ward for being gay. The paper said her survival depended on denying her lesbianism.
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Someone on staff at the institution told her of a place where there were others "like her. His parents opened the original business, the Lighthouse, in the same spot in They didn't want any problems. They were very nice. They were respectful. The gender roles were strict back then. More masculine women wore suits. More feminine woman wore dresses. Before hanging up his heels, Muise was known by his drag queen name Tisha Sterling.
Collins and Muise still miss working at Fran's. Their best era, both agreed, was the disco era. Muise performed, poured drinks, and held an annual AIDS fundraiser. He tried to make the bar cozy, he says so anyone who wandered in would feel welcome. Regulars asked that a pink upside down triangle — a Nazi symbol for gay people that was later reclaimed by queer communities — be hung on the side of the building, below what is now my bedroom window.
By the '80s, the second floor served as a dressing room for drag queens getting ready for evening shows. And where did they go? Fran's wasn't immune to violence though. People would drive by and yell slurs at those smoking or standing outside. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 2. Rating details. More filters. Sort order.
Jun 10, Sloweducation rated it it was ok Shelves: gay-pulp. The Gay Ones is an odd and somewhat confused book. I should first comment that the writing is pretty lousy. Apparently nobody ever told Linkletter to show instead of tell. As with many third-rate books of the fifties, the writing manages to be shallow and matter-of-fact even as the plot spirals into melodramatic implausibility. The plot, succinctly: Jerry has been raised by a mother who feminizes him. One day, a fellow boy comes on to his while they are swimming. When Jerry rejects him, the boy t The Gay Ones is an odd and somewhat confused book.
When Jerry rejects him, the boy tells Jerry that he thinks Jerry is gay. Reflecting, Jerry realizes that he's not sure whether he's gay or straight. He decides somewhat impulsively to leave home and go to New Orleans, where he finds employment in a cafe. After his male boss tries to seduce him, he gets a new job with at a drag bar. Jerry likes the drag bar and makes friends with the other drag performers. Most are gay, some are straight. He refrains from any sexual activity, still unsure what he wants. One day, a Hollywood producer sees Jerry at the bar and invites him to become a movie star.
In less than half a page, Jerry goes from drag queen to screen idol. Things are going well until he goes to a party and unknowingly smokes pot. Feeling insane, he ends up naked and fleeing, chased by a predatory Hollywood power broker. Then, a scandal mag is going to reveal his former drag career. His agent suggests that he get married, and he calls up his childhood friend, who is now studying psychology in North Hollywood.
For some reason she is madly in love with Jerry and is convinced she can make him straight.
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He is becoming more certain that he's gay. He marries his friend, but she tries to get him to consummate the marriage, he storms out. One of Jerry's old friends from New Orleans shows up and sees that Jerry is still in his state of confusion. He calls up a friend, and when Jerry gets home, his wife and the friend pretend to have been caught in the preliminary stages of lovemaking.
Jerry is furious, and then he realizes that because he was jealous he must be attracted to his wife, therefore he's not gay, therefore he can have sex with his wife.
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And he does. Linkletter is consistently sympathetic to her gay characters, which makes it all the weirder that she teases with Jerry, who for most of the book seems ripe to come of the closet. Indeed, Linkletter really loses focus partway through the book. In the New Orleans section, there are several deviations that call attention to the problems faced by gays and the illegitimacy of homophobia.
One of the drag performers, Sandy, has breast implants and has no guilt about his queerness. When a Navy man calls Sandy a faggot, Sandy gets in his face about it and causes a fight, resulting in Sandy, Jerry, and one of the other drag performers being held in jail while the sailors get out fine. Then, a chapter where two men pretending to be johns brutally beat and rob two gay men affiliated with the club.
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Then, most dramatically, one of the older drag comedians dies of a heart attack. He was involved for many years in an incestuous relationship with his brother, and the guilt over this matter drives him to drink. This chapter is filled with impassioned pleas and ends with the brother cutting his wrists over the corpse.
Linkletter's book is a incoherent plea for tolerance, unfocused and only occasionally entertaining. Mar 11, S. British born Eva Irene Linkletter wrote several racy pulp novels in the fifties and sixties under the pen name Eve Linkletter, including this novel, The Gay Ones. Switching locations halfway through between New Orleans and Hollywood, California, The Gay Ones follows confused young runaway Jerry Kenmore as he desperately tries to figure out if he is, in fact, one of the "Gay Ones.
Instead, Linkletter focuses on the societal oppression and victimization of the gay community and damage such discrimination could do to one's life and livelihood, and allows the reader's own empathy or discrimination to interpret what happens to many of the characters as tragic events or divine punishment. Even though in the end the novel's dubious hero is eventually "cured" of his homosexuality by his psychiatrist wife, the conversion is done so with emotion and affection, and the tone of the authors writing at other points in the novel make one believe that this part of the story is included purely for commercial reasons.
As I mentioned previously, The Gay Ones was most likely a scandalous work of fiction in the late eighties, but both the language and description of sexual situations is tame enough by today's standards that a film adaptation would easily garner a PG rating, and what was outrageously flamboyant and taboo back in the fifties is prime-time television fodder nowadays, as a typical episode of Ru Paul's Drag Race is more over the top than anything that occurs in the novel's New Orleans "Fairie Bar" sequences. An interesting peephole into what was worthy of peepholes way back when. Another reviewer said it perfectly: "Linkletter's book is a incoherent plea for tolerance, unfocused and only occasionally entertaining.
Occasionally presenting a please for tolerance, all the gays are still victims or gay incest rape or domineering mothers and absent fathers trying on their mother's underwear. Why would a mother treat her son like a girl to appease her own frustrations? What frustrations, sexual? And the below, coming out of the mouth of a high school kid in the 's is completely unbelievable: "Don't condemn me for what I am Jerry; there are three sexes, even Kinsey admitted that, and well--I guess I just happen to be in the third category!
It's Kinsey's theory! Of course he admitted it. One thing interesting in reading these pulp books is seeing where the theories on gay life were at the time. One book will choose narcissism as the reason for being gay, another like this a domineering mother, another will present someone being roped into it unwillingly.