"The open road has long been at the heart of the American spirit. From Alexis de Tocqueville to Jack Kerouac and William Least Heat Moon, writers in search of America have taken to the road. Journalist and gay activist Darrell Yates Rist is just such a pioneer, and Heartlands records his unique journey of exploration, a quest for the real gay America beyond the stereotypes of the popular media." "In his hundred-thousand-mile odyssey down the "blue highways" of gay life, Rist seeks out America's rural communities, urban neighborhoods, farms, bars, clubs, and churches to record the lives of the nation's gay people. While this is richly detailed and wonderfully appealing travel writing on one level, his portrait of gay America takes twists and turns into memories and desires, and into the deepest regions of the human heart." "From a drag queen in Mississippi to a rough-hewn cowboy at the Denver Gay Rodeo, from an alligator trapper in Louisiana to an oil worker on Alaska's pipeline, Rist describes the lives of gay men from every walk of life. These are ordinary men leading ordinary lives, yet constantly having to face everything from mild discrimination to outright bigotry and violence, as well as one of history's most devastating diseases. The stories of such heroic people easily defy all preconceived notions of what constitutes gay life in America." "An important social and political work, Heartlands reveals gay life as it really is: the hopes and the dreams, the disappointments and the triumphs, the pains and the joys of a varied yet always vital culture. A keen observer and a consummate writer, Rist paints a deeply personal, often wrenching portrait of a group of individuals as diverse as the vast topography of America itself."--BOOK JACKET.
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