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Miller, Neil (b. 1945)  
 
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The author of four books about glbtq history, Neil Miller is a freelance journalist and lecturer in the English Department at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts where he teaches journalism and non-fiction writing. Miller says his motivation for writing gay and lesbian books is "to try to do my bit to create a better world for gay people, to portray them as average, ordinary people and, as a journalist, to bring alive a world that I knew pretty well."

Miller was born on August 16, 1945, in Kingston, New York. His father owned a children's clothing store, then went into the insurance business. His mother was a social worker. He graduated from Kingston High School and attended Brown University, where he graduated with a B. A. in English in 1967.

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After a year in graduate school at New York University, Miller spent a year backpacking through Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and India. He lived in Israel from 1970 to 1972, studying at the Hebrew University and teaching English at an Israeli high school.

Upon his return to the United States, Miller came out to his family. He says, "Living in Israel really forced me to come out. Israel was much less accepting of homosexuality in those days than it is today--everyone seemed to be pushing baby carriages and trying to get me, a nice Jewish boy from the U.S., to marry their daughters."

Miller says his family was "relatively accepting" when he came out, but they were not thrilled that he was going to move to Boston to become the news editor (and later the features and managing editor) of Gay Community News in Boston, at the time the only gay and lesbian weekly newspaper in the country.

While GCN, which was established in 1973, began as the local paper of the glbtq movement in Boston, it soon became a national newspaper in which the most significant political and social issues facing the gay and lesbian rights movement were debated by some of the most influential gay and lesbian writers and activists. It was also unusual among early gay liberation papers in that its staff was approximately equally divided between gay men and lesbians and paid equal attention to the concerns of each group.

Miller also worked as a staff writer at the Boston Phoenix, an alternative weekly newspaper, from 1982 to 1985.

Miller's first book, In Search of Gay America: Women and Men in a Time of Change was published by the Atlantic Monthly Press in 1989, then in paperback by Harper and Row in 1990.

Miller calls the book, a sort of "sociological travelogue." He traveled all over the United States talking to gay men and lesbians about their lives in an effort to show what it was like to be gay in the U.S. in the late 1980s.

Miller says, "I always wondered what my life would have been like if I had stayed in the small town where I had grown up instead of moving to a fairly cosmopolitan city like Boston, so I was eager to travel around the country, especially to small towns and rural areas, to see if some of the freedoms gays and lesbians were experiencing in cities like Boston were percolating down to the rest of the country."

In Search of Gay America won the 1990 American Library Association Prize for gay and lesbian nonfiction, as well as a Lambda Literary Award.

Out in the World: Gay and Lesbian Life from Buenos Aires to Bangkok was published by Random House in 1992 and by Vintage books in paperback in 1993. Miller traveled to twelve countries around the world, using the same approach he used in In Search of Gay America, talking to people about what it was like to be gay in various societies.

Owen Keehnen describes Out in the World as "a brilliant global time capsule of social and cultural attitudes towards gay men and lesbians," and praised Miller for showing "just how different 'gay and lesbian experience' is around the world. . . . The challenges of being gay or lesbian differ wildly--and to presume any differently is dismissive of any experience but our own. This book opens our eyes to some of those amazing differences."

As in his first book, Miller stayed away from gay urban centers to get a truer sense of gay life and cultural acceptance in countries like Argentina, Australia, Egypt, South Africa, Germany, and Denmark. Miller says his first two books were also an excuse for him to travel, something he loves.

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