Homoplot analyses the lesbian, gay and bisexual coming-out story in fiction and autobiography from the late 1960s to the present day. These stories are recognised as an invaluable record of lesbian, gay or bisexual life. However, this book illuminates their equally vital role as active tools in the arduous project of creating gay, lesbian and bisexual identities – constructing the identities they seem to describe. Homoplot shows how a popular twist of the plot, or a single common character trait, can be a powerful intervention into sexual politics. Approaching these texts with the tools of queer criticism, the book celebrates their success, but also illuminates their chief problem: how the need to create concrete sexual identities has often narrowed the range of queer experiences represented.
Despite the ongoing popularity of coming-out stories, this is the first book-length study of the genre. Homoplot surveys hundreds of examples – including in-depth readings of authors such as Jeanette Winterson, Dorothy Allison, Rita Mae Brown, Oscar Moore, Paul Monette and Aaron Fricke – and provides an incisive account of the genre’s defining features. The book is essential reading for anyone considering queer literature, or lesbian, gay and bisexual identity in the twentieth century and beyond. Researchers and students considering life history and autobiography will also benefit from its analysis of feminist and queer politics.