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Duberman, Martin Bauml (b. 1930)  
page: 1  2  

Playwright and Biographer

In addition to scholarly works, Duberman has also authored a dozen plays and a historical novel, Haymarket (2003). Seven of Duberman's plays that explore gender issues are collected in Male Armor (1975). In these pieces he examines the construct of male identity as a skin men use to shield themselves from their own sexual and emotional energies.

For example, "Payments" (1971), inspired by the hustler culture that Duberman patronized when he was deeply closeted, explores the psychology of a masculine man who self-identifies as straight while catering sexually to male clients. "Elagabalus" (1973) is a multi-generational portrayal of individuals whose obsessions become a medium through which to enact rituals of power, corruption, and rebellion.

Duberman's biography of Paul Robeson (1989), the African-American singer, actor, and civil rights activist, reflects the author's various interests in theater, African-American history, radical politics, and liberation movements.

Gay Academic

Duberman founded City University of New York's Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS) in 1991. This program, one of the first such centers at a prominent university, helped make gay and lesbian studies academically respectable, as did his own research and publication in the field, which includes not only scholarly accounts of gay history but also first-person accounts of his own participation in the movement for equality. CLAGS continues as a leader in the gay and lesbian studies movement, sponsoring conferences and awarding research grants, as well as focusing glbtq studies at CUNY.

Hidden from History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past (1989), co-edited with Martha Vicinus and George Chauncey, Jr., one of several anthologies on gay history that Duberman edited or co-edited, presents scholarly essays by a large number of scholars, including Duberman himself, on same-sex sexual relationships throughout history. It is not only a standard reference in the field, but one of the seminal texts that helped define the field of gay history, negotiating a space somewhere between essentialist and social constructionist theories of homosexuality.

In About Time: Exploring the Gay Past (1986, 1991), a collection of his own essays, some of which were published in the New York Native, Duberman excerpts and analyzes archival source materials. In these essays, he frequently illustrates how the gay and lesbian past has been obfuscated by policies of libraries and other archives.

Stonewall (1994), Duberman's account of a pivotal moment in the gay liberation movement, weaves six personal narratives into a social history of the events leading up to the Stonewall riots, as the movement metamorphosed into the gay liberation movement. The book was the basis for the 1995 film of the same name directed by Nigel Finch, though Duberman has objected to what he considers the film's exaggeration of the role of drag queens in the riots.

Midlife Queer: Autobiography of a Decade (1996) is a memoir that takes a topical approach to gay movement politics and scholarship between 1971 and 1981. Left Out: The Politics of Exclusion (1999) compiles Duberman's essays on gender politics, campus radicalism, civil rights, and anti-war activism.

Duberman also serves as general editor of two Chelsea House series directed at young people, one consisting of biographies of notable gay men and lesbians and the other focused on Issues in Lesbian and Gay Life. In addition, he is a frequent contributor of reviews and commentary to major periodicals.

Informing all of Duberman's work is a grasp of the power of narrative in shaping perceptions of social movements and their relevance to individual lives. Given his personal story of growth from internalized homophobia to gay activism, this emphasis is altogether appropriate.

Ruth M. Pettis

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literature >> Overview:  Autobiography, Gay Male

In its first century of existence, gay male autobiography has become increasingly more open, frank, and unapologetic.

literature >> Overview:  Contemporary Drama

Since Stonewall, gay and lesbian drama has flourished, especially in the United States.

social sciences >> Overview:  Gay, Lesbian, and Queer Studies

Gay, lesbian, and queer studies are separate but related fields of cultural inquiry that attempt to establish the centrality of gender and sexuality within a particular area of investigation.

social sciences >> Overview:  Homophobia

Homophobia was originally defined as a "dread of being in close quarters with homosexuals," but it is now sometimes used to describe any form of anti-gay bias.

social sciences >> Overview:  Identity Politics

Not limited to activity in the traditionally conceived political sphere, identity politics refers to activism, politics, theorizing, and other similar activities based on the shared experiences of members of a specific social group, often relying on shared experiences of oppression.

social sciences >> Overview:  Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy, the clinical process of treating mental and emotional health problems, has recently been energized by a movement to depathologize homosexuality and to enhance the dignity and self-respect of glbtq clients.

social sciences >> Overview:  Reparative Therapy

Reparative therapy is a dangerously misguided attempt, supported by homophobic religious organizations, to change a person's sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual.

social sciences >> Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund

The largest glbtq legal advocacy group in the United States, the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund has been fighting for the civil rights of queer Americans and people with HIV/AIDS for over three decades.

social sciences >> National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF)

The oldest continuously operating national glbtq interest group, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has played a significant role in the development of the glbtq movement for equal rights.

social sciences >> Stonewall Riots

The confrontations between police and demonstrators at the Stonewall Inn in New York City the weekend of June 27-29, 1969 mark the beginning of the modern glbtq movement for equal rights.


Duberman, Martin. About Time: Exploring the Gay Past. New York: Meridian, 1991.

_____. Black Mountain: An Exploration in Community. New York: Dutton, 1972.

_____. Cures: A Gay Man's Odyssey. Tenth Anniversary Edition. Boulder: Westview Press, 2002.

_____. In White America: A Documentary Play. New York: New American Library, 1965.

_____. Left Out: The Politics of Exclusion--Essays, 1964-1999. New York: Basic Books, 1999.

_____. Male Armor: Selected Plays, 1968-1974. New York: Dutton, 1975.

_____. Midlife Queer: Autobiography of a Decade, 1971-1981. New York: Scribner, 1996.

_____. Stonewall. New York: Plume, 1994.

_____, Martha Vicinus, and George Chauncey, Jr., eds. Hidden from History: Reclaiming the gay and lesbian past. New York: New American Library, 1989.

Eagan, Joseph M. "Martin Duberman." Gay & Lesbian Biography. Michael J. Tyrkus, ed. Detroit: St. James Press, 1997. 157-58.

Hartl, John. "'Stonewall' Controversy Comes to Film." Seattle Times (September 1, 1996): M4.

Lighty, Michael. "An Interview with Martin Duberman." Democratic Left 27.4 (January 1, 2000):  21.

Markus, Thomas B. "Duberman, Martin (Bauml)." Contemporary Dramatists. 6th ed. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999. 204-06.

Wentink, A.M. "Duberman, Martin Bauml." Who's Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History: From World War II to the Present Day. Robert Aldrich and Garry Wotherspoon, eds. New York: Routledge, 2001. 116.


    Citation Information
    Author: Pettis, Ruth M.  
    Entry Title: Duberman, Martin Bauml  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2006  
    Date Last Updated November 27, 2006  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2006 glbtq, Inc.  


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