Bruce Bawer exposes the heated controversy over gay rights and presents a passionate plea for the recognition of common values, "a place at the table" for everyone.
As an amalgam of candid autobiography, teenage homosexual guide, indictment of homophobes and eloquent plea not only for tolerance but for acceptance of homosexuality, this highly personal ``meditation-manifesto'' by gay poet and literary critic Bawer ( Diminishing Fictions ) provides a much-needed historical and moral perspective on the problems faced especially by gay men. Highly visible Gay Pride members of a sex-dominated, politically active subculture, the author contends, are not representative of the varied mainstream, seen here as a mostly silent, gay population now subject, especially in the military, to a ``don't ask, don't tell'' policy. Bawer further charges that it is largely anti-gay prejudice that defines gays as a group. He deplores misleading negative images that brand homosexuals as AIDS-prone, physically or mentally ill, promiscuous and drug-addicted. The best (and last) chapter treats the need for homosexual self-recognition and the dangers of denial. Bawer's well-reasoned, articulate arguments are of inestimable value.