Faggots (novel)

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This article is about the novel. For other uses see Faggot.
Faggots by Larry Kramer.jpg
Cover of the first edition
Author Larry Kramer
Country United States
Language English
Genre Fiction
Publisher Random House
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardcover and Paperback)
ISBN 978-0-8021-3691-6
OCLC 43526781

Faggots is a 1978 novel by Larry Kramer.[1] It is a portrayal of 1970s New York's very visible gay community in a time before AIDS. The novel's portrayal of promiscuous sex and recreational drug use provoked controversy. The book was condemned by some elements within the gay community.


The main character, Fred Lemish, is loosely modeled on Kramer. Lemish wants to find a loving, long-term relationship. His desires are frustrated as he stumbles through an emotionally cold series of glory holes, bathhouses, BDSM encounters and group sex. He becomes disillusioned with the 1970s "fast lane" lifestyle dominating the gay subculture in and around New York.

Lemish also expresses discomfort with the widespread use of multiple street and prescription drugs helping to maintain the party atmosphere. Faggots details the use of over two dozen 1970s party drugs and intoxicants such as Seconal, poppers, LSD, Quaaludes, alcohol, marijuana, Valium, PCP, cocaine and heroin.

Locales include Fire Island, a gay bathhouse called the "Everhard" (based on the Everard Baths), and a club called the Toilet Bowl.


The book has been influential over the years, though many have criticized Kramer for perceived negativity toward his subject matter. The book was banned in the only gay bookstore in Manhattan.[2] In the advent of the AIDS crisis in the early 1980s, it was discovered that the drug use, multiple partner sex and other behavior condemned in Faggots increased the risk of HIV. Kramer was somewhat redeemed in the gay community.[3]

Gay scholar John Lauritsen commented in his The AIDS War (1993), "The book showed courage and insight. It touched a raw nerve. It was disgusting, and very funny."[4] Historian Martin Duberman writes that "to me, Faggots represented not uncanny clairvoyance but merely Kramer's own garden-variety sex-negativism".[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kramer, Larry (June 1, 2000). Faggots (Paperback ed.). Grove Press. p. 384. ISBN 978-0-8021-3691-6. 
  2. ^ Shilts, Randy (November 2007). And the Band Played on: Politics, People, And the AIDS Epidemic (20th-Anniversary ed.). St. Martin's Griffin. p. 26. ISBN 978-0-312-37463-1. 
  3. ^ Price, Reynolds (4 June 2000). "The Way of All Flesh: Faggots: A Novel By Larry Kramer". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  4. ^ Lauritsen, John (1993). The AIDS War: Propaganda, Profiteering and Genocide from the Medical-Industrial Complex. Pagan Press. p. 353. ISBN 0-943742-08-0. 
  5. ^ Duberman, Martin (1996). Midlife Queer: Autobiography of a Decade 1971-1981. The University of Wisconsin Press. p. 20. ISBN 0-299-16024-6. 

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