Something You Do in the Dark

Something You Do in the Dark - Daniel Curzon In honor of the month, it is June, and Pride Month, I wanted to pull a couple of important classics down from the shelf. When we look at the history of modern gay literature, this is a milestone.

Originally published in 1971, this is an angry, embittered tale with good reason. At the time, many of you youngsters might not recall, but homosexuality (often masked under the legal terms 'lewd behavior' or 'indecent behavior') was still illegal, still prosecuted with a vengeance and still targeted by police departments everywhere in the US. Raids on bath houses, known gay bars and public parks to round up gays and lesbians and lock them up was the norm.

This is one of the first novels to address the issue in a searingly candid, no-holds-barred way. Joyce Carol Oates called it "Engrossing, powerful and disturbing."

And it is. But it is an important work. Difficult to read for the compassionate heart. Necessary to know the history. Vital in today's world to know the history or, as they say, we are doomed to repeat it.

While it is a protest novel, it is also the story of one gay man's fight to survive and stay whole. Survive in a physical sense the threats he encounters and survive in an emotional sense in a society that has branded him a criminal and a deviant.

This is serious stuff, kids. Do not expect fluff. But when I was young, it opened my eyes. It was important then, and I think it remains an important work today.

I'll let Cole, the MC, finish up here for me as he relates his sentencing in his ironic way:

"It was sort of like stealing a loaf of bread - I only got six months for that - but because I protested the basic injustice I was sentenced to two more years. And then something else happened while I was in. And that's how the cookie of life crumbles."