Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sarah Schulman

At Publishers Weekly, Dick Donahue interviewed Sarah Schulman, author of Ties That Bind: Familial Homophobia and Its Consequences. Part of the Q & A:

PW: What would you like readers to take away from Ties That Bind?

SS: On the highest level, I would love readers to be inspired to re-think tired paradigms, and be encouraged by creative reimaginings of how we can live with more awareness and accountability. We are in such a fascinating and complex time now, and many ideas that were censored during the cultural freeze of the Bush era may have a chance to be heard. I would love for people to be invigorated by new ideas, and to enjoy them.

PW: The subtitle of your new book is Familial Homophobia and Its Consequences. What are some of those consequences?

SS: My argument in brief is that the family is the place where most people, gay and straight, first learn about homophobia. And that the maintenance of gay people as lesser-than is subsequently enforced through the arts and entertainment industries and government policies, resulting in a diminishment of gay people’s status and self-perception. I explain clearly, and with examples and arguments, that familial homophobia is not a personal problem, but is instead a cultural crisis. And that we can learn from the enormous paradigm shifts in how domestic violence is viewed, that abusive behavior inside families is a broad social concern and responsibility. Gay press reviews have been superb, and I recently had a standing room only reading in Chicago. The excitement and embracing of the book’s ideas is very exciting. Ironically, of course, there has been a parallel blackout by the straight press. This interview is the very first engagement with a mainstream publication acknowledging that the book even exists. It’s a strange through-the-looking-glass experience, one that I have had all my life. It speaks volumes that work that LGBT people love and embrace is...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue