Living Behind the Façade is a revealing and captivating story about and by a gay man – George E. Somers – whose rich and talented life as an artist spanned most of the 20th Century. Born in the Philippines following the Spanish-American War to an American G.I. from Kansas and a beautiful Spanish girl living in Manila’s Spanish military garrison, George realized early in life that he was “different” from other boys his age – and that being “gay” was never “a choice” but an orientation he inherited from birth.
Long before the term “Gay Rights” was coined and minted in the American vernacular, and before the Gay Liberation Movement brought millions of gays and lesbians out of the closet into a still homophobic society, George’s life mirrored a shadowy era in which virtually all homosexuals were coerced into lives “behind the façade” – an ersatz heterosexual identity. Yet, in the shadows of the façade, George was part of the first gay rights organization in the United States — Society for Individual Rights.
George’s frank narrative describes the gay world and culture he has always lived in, from its obscure closeted beginnings to its more liberated present, providing gay and straight readers alike with an important and transparent portrayal of life behind, and from without, the gay façade of American society. Living Behind the Façade is more than a myth breaker, it is a significant contribution to the diverse ethnography of American Culture and Humanities.
George passed away at 101 in the San Francisco Bay Area. His book was edited and published posthumously by his nephew, Jaime Jackson .