Manual TypewriterEssays, Reviews, and Commentaries

By Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev

Gay Sex in the 70s and A Simple Matter of Justice

Posted By on June 30, 2009

A Simple Matter of Justice: The 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation  
by JEB (Joan E. Biren) 

This is a wonderful film, by the exceptional documentary artist, Joan E. Biren, who has captured the passion, power, and incredible frolic that is the hallmark of queer political marches. This video would be awesome teaching tool for college classrooms. It carefully maps out the issues facing the LGBT community and our fierce unwavering commitment to ensuring political justice. 
Gay Sex in the 70s
By Joseph Lovett 
"Gay Sex in the 70s"

is remarkable film that documents the history of gay male sexuality at the dawn of the gay liberation movement. Frank, revealing, and poignant personal interviews are interwoven with sexually explicit vintage footage of the cruising areas and bathhouses that symbolize the freedom of gay male sexuality in a pre-AIDS world. Between the homophobic, sanitized world of the 1950s, and the grieving post-epidemic world of the 1990s, there lived a generation of men, that explored their sexual freedom uninhibitedly, excessively, and joyfully.  

As an Social Work educator, this film is an excellent teaching tool, both as an historical snapshot of the power of the early gay liberation movement, but more importantly, as a foundation for honest discussions of sexuality and values. "Gay Sex in the 70s" is a film that demands thoughtful reflection. By revealing so vividly this unexamined aspect of gay life, it will initiate student discussion on a wide-range of topics and can used in courses in sociology, history, psychology, social work, public policy, and health sciences. 

Lovett’s film is a celebration of that time and a tribute to the men who lived through it, as well as those who could not have known the cost they would pay their sexual emancipation. Shocking in parts, the film demands thoughtful reflection, by revealing so vividly this unexamined aspect of gay life. One can only wonder what gay life would be today, if not for that damn virus – what would gay life be America today if the shame of the 50s was not replaced with the caution necessary in the 90s? Oh, if all those gay men could only have continued celebrating their queer bodies and desires, with reckless abandon, proudly, visibly, raucously – if only the band could’ve played on and on and on….