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VIRTUAL EVENT: BOOK TALK: The Deviant's War: The Homosexual vs the United States of America

Wednesday, June 2, 2021 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Registration is requested
Members and VESP holders: Free | Visitors: $5

Registration will open shortly. Contact events@bostonathenaeum.org if you have any questions.

Book Talk: The Deviant's War: The Homosexual vs. the United States of America

Eric Cervini in conversation with Robert Fiesler

In 1957, Frank Kameny, a rising astronomer working for the U.S. Defense Department in Hawaii, received a summons to report immediately to Washington, D.C. The Pentagon had reason to believe he was a homosexual, and after a series of humiliating interviews, Kameny, like countless gay men and women before him, was promptly dismissed from his government job. Unlike many others, though, Kameny fought back.

Based on firsthand accounts, recently declassified FBI records, and forty thousand personal documents, Eric Cervini's The Deviant's War unfolds over the course of the 1960s, as the Mattachine Society of Washington, the group Kameny founded, became the first organization to protest the systematic persecution of gay federal employees. It traces the forgotten ties that bound gay rights to the Black Freedom Movement, the New Left, lesbian activism, and trans resistance. Above all, it is a story of America (and Washington) at a cultural and sexual crossroads; of shocking, byzantine public battles with Congress; of FBI informants; murder; betrayal; sex; love; and ultimately victory.

Dr. Eric Cervini is an award-winning historian of LGBTQ+ politics and culture. His first book on queer history, The Deviant's War, was a New York Times Best Seller and Editors’ Choice. It was nominated for the Publishing Triangle’s Randy Shilts Award for Gay Nonfiction and voted the “Best Read of 2020” at the Queerties.

As an authority on 1960s gay activism, Cervini serves on the Board of Directors of the Harvard Gender and Sexuality Caucus and on the Board of Advisors of the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C., a nonprofit dedicated to the preservation of gay American history. His award-winning digital exhibitions have been featured in Harvard’s Rudenstine Gallery, and he has presented his research to audiences across America and the United Kingdom.

He lives in Los Angeles with his two plants, Coco Montrese and Fig O’Hara.

Robert W. Fieseler is the winner of the 2020 Columbia Journalism School First Decade Award, the 2019 NLGJA (National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association) Journalist of the Year and a debut nonfiction author. He currently lives with his husband and kittens in New Orleans. He graduated co-valedictorian from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and is a recipient of the Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship and the Lynton Fellowship in Book Writing. 

Fieseler’s essays and feature stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and recognized in roundups of best nonfiction by The Atlantic. He writes about marginalized groups and overlooked people who make the world better for themselves. As such, his heroes tend to be exiles and outcasts seeking their own strange forms of freedom.

Help support the author and independent bookstores.

PURCHASE The Deviant's War from our partner, Harvard Book Store.

 

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