Friday, October 23, 2009

"Erotic City"

Josh Sides is Whitsett Professor of California History, and Director of the Center for Southern California Studies, at California State University, Northridge.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, Erotic City: Sexual Revolutions and the Making of Modern San Francisco, and reported the following:
On the ninety-ninth page of Erotic City: Sexual Revolutions and the Making of Modern San Francisco, readers are introduced to Ted McIlvenna, the night minister of the Glide Urban Center in San Francisco's Tenderloin district during the mid-1960s, and Cecil Williams, the recently appointed African American minister of Glide Church. Along with social workers and church allies, these two men created outreach programs to help gays, lesbians, and transgenders in the Tenderloin at a time during which these groups were still heavily stigmatized, even in San Francisco. McIlvenna and Williams proffered a vision of Christianity in which social responsibility for the poor and marginalized trumped sexual moralism. By recognizing the humanity of sexual minorities ­ and advocating for them in the face of considerable resistance -- McIlvenna and Williams contributed to the gradual integration of queers into American society. To the extent that McIlvenna and Williams embodied the new trend toward extensive civic engagement with issues of sexuality in the 1960s, I would say that their story on page ninety-nine captures the spirit and subject of the book quite well.
Learn more about Erotic City at the Oxford University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue