John Howard's Men Like That Book Review Essay

Words: 1124
Pages: 5

Howard, John. Men Like That: A Southern Queer History. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1999. (hb). ISBN: 0-226-35471-7. John Howard in his 1999 book Men Like That: A Southern Queer History explores gay and transgendered male-male sexual desire and actions that goes beyond self- identification as being gay and includes those men that are “like” that and self -label as gay, as well as men who “like” that and engage in homosexual activity but do not consider themselves gay. Howard aims for a more accurate accounting of homosexual desire in Mississippi during the postwar years after World War II and through the mid 1980’s and does not want to “…simply…recuperate past figures previously lost to history, but also to …show more content…
xix). Instead Howard is reporting on specific actions and specific desires at specific locations in Mississippi.
Howard claims that the home in general and the bed specifically is the site that gets “queered” first (p. 41). Here we find Fitz again who is now college aged and home for the Thanksgiving holiday. His sister’s boyfriend shares Fitz’s double bed. Consensual sex ensues and is repeated at various other venues while his sister continues to date him.
One of the descriptors that Howard uses is “homosex” and he defines it simply as sexual acts between two men. Howard doesn’t use academic or medical terms to describe what is occurring between Fitz and Chuck in bed, behind the haystacks, at public rest stops, in Grandma’s guestroom or bathroom or any other site that is thus changed by queer activity and which in turn changes the performer. Fellatio becomes a blowjob (through a hole in adjoining spaces called a glory hole), anal sex is corn-holing and all manner of locations or space are discussed including tea rooms, bath houses and rest rooms as places gay men can exercise desire as well as action. This activity continues without social repercussions as quiet accommodation continues through the 1950’s.
Although it would appear to be counter-intuitive in the generally sexually repressed times