What Happened To Gay Life?' by Robert Reynolds
NewSouth, $29.95 pb, 224 pp
I recently watched a DVD of The Big Chill (1983). The film’s melancholy over the lost radicalism of the 1960s pervades What Happened to Gay Life?, Robert Reynolds’s new book. One might guess that a book about gay – once synonymous with happy – life might feature a bit of glitter and laughter, but this is not the book’s point.
The decline of gay Sydney is conspicuous. The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras will never reach the heights that it attained in the late 1990s. Oxford Street, with its violent attacks on gay men, is no longer a safe haven nor the heart of a community. Younger gay men are adopting a variety of identities and ways of being that generally do not conform to the standard pattern of many Sydney gay men in their thirties and forties: dance party enthusiasts, gym-goers, community-connected and socialising mainly with other gay men. The disappearing gay life that Reynolds describes includes all of this and more.