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   *Winner of the John Boswell Prize from the Committee on LGBT History 
            of the American Historical Association
   *Winner of Smithsonian’s Award for Scholarship in Postal History

   *Named a 
best LGBT Book of 2019 by 
The Advocate and Attitude magazines

         *Finalist for the American Publishers PROSE Award in U.S. History


         *Finalist for the Hagley Prize in Business History

         *Finalist for the Randy Shilts Award for Gay Nonfiction

   

In 1951, a new type of publication appeared on American newsstands–the physique magazine produced by and for gay men. For many in Cold War America, these magazines served as an initiation into an extensive world of photography studios, mail-order catalogs, pen-pal services, and book clubs, targeting a gay market. In 
Buying Gay, David K. Johnson shows how this gay commercial network–long thought to be a result of the gay rights movement–was actually a crucial catalyst for the gay rights movement.

Each chapter offers a vivid, behind-the-scenes look at a physique entrepreneur and their battle with the U.S. Post Office, which considered their products obscene and engaged in a relentless campaign to shut them down. It reveals how Bob Mizer founded 
Physique Pictorial in Los Angeles as a direct response to postal authority intimidation. It uncovers the story of 
The Grecian Guild, founded by a gay couple who met at the University of Virginia, who offered their subscribers access to a gay fraternal order. It tells the story of a New York publishing executive who pioneered the notion of niche marketing of gay books. It tells the story of Elsie Carlton, a straight woman who ran one of the nation’s first gay mail-order book clubs. 

Threatening all these physique entrepreneurs was Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield, who had members of the first gay pen pal service arrested and sent its founders to prison. It would take Lynn Womack, who consolidated the field into a physique publishing empire–including his own distribution network, printing plant, and legal library–to take his case to the U.S. Supreme Court and win one of the first and most important gay rights cases. 
Manual v. Day in 1962 paved the way for a vibrant gay print and commercial world that could help sustain a movement.               



Combining LGBT studies and the history of capitalism for the first time, 
Buying Gay reconceives the history of the gay rights movement and shows how consumer culture helped create community and a site for resistance.

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Columbia University Press; Illustrated edition (April 27, 2021)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 328 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0231189117
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0231189118
Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1 pounds
Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6 x 0.5 x 9.25 inches

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