The Ambivalence of Gay Liberation: Male Homosexual Politics in 1970s West Germany

ISBN : 9780198868965

Craig Griffiths
240 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Feb 2021
Send mail

The Ambivalence of Gay Liberation explores ways of thinking, feeling, and talking about being gay in the 1970s, an influential decade sandwiched between the partial decriminalisation of male homosexuality in 1969, and the arrival of the HIV/AIDS crisis in the early 1980s. Moving beyond divided Cold War Berlin, it also focuses on lesser-known cities, such as Aachen, Cologne, Frankfurt, Munster, and Stuttgart, to name just a few of the 53 localities that were home to a gay group by the end of the 1970s. These groups were important, and this book tells their story. In 1970's Germany gay liberation did not take place only in activist meetings, universities, and on street demonstrations, but also on television, in magazine editorial offices, ordinary homes, bedrooms, and beyond. In considering all these spaces and individuals, this book provides a more complex account than previous histories, which have tended to focus only on a social movement and only on the idea of 'gay pride'. By drawing attention to ambivalence, this book shows that gay liberation was never only about pride, but also about shame; characterized not only by hope, but also by fear; and driven forward not just by the pushes of confrontation, but also by the pulls of conformism. Ranging from the painstaking emergence of the gay press to the first representation of homosexuality on television, from debates over the sexual legacy of 1968 and the student movement to the memory of Nazi persecution, The Ambivalence of Gay Liberation is the first English-language book to tell the story of male homosexual politics in 1970s West Germany. In doing so, this book changes the way we think about modern queer history.


1 The West German gay world after homosexual law reform
2 'It is not the Homosexual who is perverse': the emergence of gay liberation
3 Gay liberation, 1968, and the alternative left
4 The pink triangle: persecution past and present
5 Thinking and feeling homosexuality

About the author: 

Craig Griffiths is a Senior Lecturer in Modern History at Manchester Metropolitan University, where he teaches and researches queer history, the history of sexuality, and modern European history. He is an Associate of the Raphael Samuel History Centre, and a co-founder and co-convenor of the Seminar Series in the History of Sexuality at the Institute of Historical Research, London. This is his first book.

The price listed on this page is the recommended retail price for Japan. When a discount is applied, the discounted price is indicated as “Discount price”. Prices are subject to change without notice.