Join us for a Zoom discussion with author and historian Eric Cervini on his painstakingly researched and engagingly written book, The Deviant’s War: The Homosexual vs. the United States of America.
A New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, The Deviant's War uncovers the secret history of the fight for gay rights that began a generation before Stonewall, told through the life and unprecedented legal efforts of astronomer Franklin Edward Kameny. This discussion will be moderated by Jasmine Allen of PBS NH.
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.
About the author: Eric Cervini is an award-winning historian of LGBTQ+ culture and politics. He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College and received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Cambridge, where he was a Gates Scholar. The Deviant’s War is his first book.
This program is a partnership with Nashua Public Library.