After the Ball (book)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
After the Ball: How America Will Conquer its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90s
After the Ball (book).jpg
Cover of the first edition
Authors Marshall Kirk
Hunter Madsen
Country United States
Language English
Subject LGBT rights in the United States
Publisher Doubleday
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardcover and Paperback)
Pages 398
ISBN 0-385-23906-8

After the Ball: How America Will Conquer its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90s is a 1989 book about LGBT rights in the United States by the neuropsychologist Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen. The book has been described as advocating the use of propaganda to advance the cause of gay rights, and has been criticized by social conservatives as an expression of the "homosexual agenda".


Kirk and Madsen argued that, at the time they were writing, the gay movement had to a large extent been unsuccessful, and that some of the limited victories it had won were in danger of being overturned. They put forward a new agenda to advance the cause of gay rights.[1]

Publication history[edit]

After the Ball was first published in 1989 by Doubleday.[2]


Mainstream media[edit]

After the Ball received a positive review from the historian Jonathan Kirsch in the Los Angeles Times. Kirsch described the book as "a curious call to the story boards and 30-second spots of Madison Avenue, a kind of sanitized upscale media radicalism", and noted that its authors admitted that they advocated propaganda. He described their proposals about how gay people should be depicted in the media as "propaganda on the highest levels of insight and calculation." He credited them with providing, "a wide-ranging and penetrating survey" of negative attitudes to gay people and homosexuality. Though he considered the book "uncomfortable" and believed that it contained rhetorical excesses, he wrote that he came to admire and enjoy it because its authors' provocative ideas and spirited language. He also noted that the book's graphic design was elegant and handsome.[3]

Gay media[edit]

After the Ball was reviewed by Christopher Brown in Christopher Street.[4] According to the New York Native, the book became a bestseller in the United States.[5]

Scientific and academic journals[edit]

After the Ball was reviewed by Mary A. Hartshorne in JAMA.[6]

Reaction from social conservatives[edit]

William F. Jasper, writing in The New American, described After the Ball as one of "the most influential manifestos of the militant homosexuals". In his view, it "delineated an insidious, Orwellian propaganda program".[7] Craig Osten, an author associated with the Alliance Defense Fund, criticized After the Ball in an interview on the Focus on the Family website CitizenLink, writing that the book revealed the agenda of "homosexual activists", and that its authors "admit that the use of lies is perfectly fine in their struggle."[8]

Joe Wenke, writing in HuffPost, noted that Alan Sears and Craig Osten, writing in The Homosexual Agenda: Exposing the Principal Threat to Religious Freedom Today (2003), considered After the Ball a work used by gay rights activists to subvert American culture and were outraged at what they considered its "Machiavellian activist strategies". According to Wenke, Kirk's own assessment of his book was far more modest than that of Sears and Osten. He quoted Kirk remarking in 2006 that while the book was widely read by gay rights activists when it was first published, most of them regarded it negatively, and that while many of its techniques had been used by activists it had no current influence on them.[9]

Robert R. Reilly argued in Making Gay Okay (2014) that Kirk and Madsen's proposed strategy of portraying gay people as victims was successful. He believed that the success of this strategy was the reason why, "AIDS gets more research money per patient than any other disease."[10] The journalist Rod Dreher, writing in The American Conservative, argued that advocates of paedophilia were using trying to use the propaganda strategies advocated by Kirk and Madsen to advance their cause.[11]



  1. ^ Kirk & Madsen 1989, p. xiii.
  2. ^ Kirk & Madsen 1989, p. iv.
  3. ^ Kirsch 1989.
  4. ^ Brown 1989, pp. 43–46.
  5. ^ New York Native 1989, p. 26.
  6. ^ Hartshorne 1990, pp. 2374–2375.
  7. ^ Jasper 1998.
  8. ^ Osten 2003.
  9. ^ Wenke 2013.
  10. ^ Reilly 2015, pp. 10–11.
  11. ^ Dreher 2018.


  • Kirk, Marshall; Madsen, Hunter (1989). After the Ball: How America Will Conquer its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90s. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-23906-8.
  • Reilly, Robert R. (2015). Making Gay Okay: How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior Is Changing Everything. San Francisco: Ignatius Press. ISBN 978-1-62164-086-8.
  • Brown, Christopher (1989). "Selling Homosexuality". Christopher Street. 12 (2).  – via EBSCO's Academic Search Complete (subscription required)
  • Hartshorne, Mary A. (1990). "After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90's". JAMA. 263 (17). doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440170096048.
  • "Bestseller list". New York Native (345). 1989.  – via EBSCO's Academic Search Complete (subscription required)
Online articles