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Signorile, Michelangelo (b. 1960)  
page: 1  2  

After having an unsafe sexual encounter in 1996, Signorile wrote Life Outside: The Signorile Report on Gay Men: Sex, Drugs, Muscles, and the Passages of Life (1997). In this book, he interviews and surveys hundreds of gay men living in cities with large gay populations as well as in suburbs and small towns. He bemoans the fact that a new gay male culture has evolved that seems obsessed with golden tans, muscles, and youthful appearance. He discusses "body fascism" and "circuit parties," which frequently feature recreational drug use. Again, Signorile explains the need for gay men to "come out" and free themselves of sexual oppression.

Throughout the 1990s Signorile worked for several gay publications. In 1991 he joined the Advocate as a columnist. Two years later he joined Out Magazine as a columnist. In 1995 Signorile returned to the Advocate as an editor-at-large and roving columnist. In 1998 he began writing and reporting for the international network of websites connected through

Signorile's columns and reporting in the late 1990s again sparked controversy. He cautioned that many younger gay men in the United States were not practicing safe sex and deplored the popularity of bare back sex. He warned of "circuit boy" culture and the popularity of designer drugs, such as Ecstasy, ketamine (also known as special K), crystal methamphetamine, and gamma hydroxybuterate or GHB.

Currently, Signorile hosts a four-hour radio show weekdays on Sirius Satellite Radio's Out Q. His guests run the gamut from newsmakers and community leaders to pop culture celebrities and politicians. In addition, he writes a syndicated column for the weekly New York Press. Many of his columns are archived on his website.

Signorile is a familiar face on television, advocating glbtq rights and offering a gay perspective on current events. He has appeared on such programs as "Today," "Good Morning America," "Larry King Live," "60 Minutes," "48 Hours," "The O'Reilly Factor," "Fox News Watch," and various MTV and VH1 programs.

Signorile deserves credit for helping change journalistic practices in the United States, especially in regard to mentioning the homosexuality of public figures. In doing so, he has also helped make it easier for ordinary individuals to be open about their sexuality in the workplace and in daily life. His is an articulate and provocative voice in the glbtq community.

Kenneth Cimino

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social sciences >> Overview:  Circuit Parties

Circuit Parties refer to an ongoing series of gay-themed events that take place in major metropolitan areas throughout the year.

social sciences >> Overview:  The Closet

If the closet has served to institutionalize homosexuality as shameful and inferior vis-à-vis the legitimate heterosexual culture, it has also provided a space of possibility for subversive sexual and political acts.

social sciences >> Overview:  Coming Out

"Coming out" is the revelation or acknowledgment that one is a member of a sexual minority, a process that is at once personal and social and often political.

literature >> Overview:  Journalism and Publishing

The gay and lesbian press is of prime importance in sustaining a frequently embattled minority and has been crucial in the development of a national mass movement for gay rights.

social sciences >> Overview:  McCarthyism

McCarthyism, which attempted in the late 1940s and early 1950s to expunge Communists and fellow travelers from American public life, made homosexuals the chief scapegoats of the Cold War.

social sciences >> Overview:  Outing

First used by homophobes and then by glbtq activists, outing is the public revelation of a person's sexuality without the consent of that person.

arts >> Overview:  Radio

A product of the gay liberation movement spawned by the Stonewall rebellion, queer radio programming remains a significant source of entertainment and information for glbtq communities.

social sciences >> Overview:  Same-Sex Marriage

Lesbian and gay couples have been fighting for the freedom to marry since the dawn of the modern glbtq struggle for equality; despite some success abroad, progress toward same-sex marriage in the United States has been slow.

social sciences >> ACT UP

Using bold images and confrontational tactics, ACT UP worked to promote awareness of AIDS and challenge the complacency of politicians and government officials in the early years of the epidemic.

literature >> DeCaro, Frank

Funnyman Frank DeCaro has found success both in serious journalism as a fashion writer and editor and in comedy as a writer, performer, and radio talk show host.

arts >> Geffen, David

Controversial entertainment mogul and philanthropist David Geffen transformed himself into one of the most successful people in the entertainment industry; his 1992 declaration of his homosexuality only increased his stature.

literature >> Kramer, Larry

Controversial playwright, novelist, and essayist Larry Kramer has been a pioneer in the gay political response to AIDS in America.

arts >> Maddow, Rachel

Political commentator Rachel Maddow became the first out lesbian to host a prime-time television news program when "The Rachel Maddow Show" premiered on MSNBC in September 2008.

arts >> Roberts, Thomas

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literature >> Sullivan, Andrew

Social and political commentator Andrew Sullivan has established himself as an influential participant in Anglo-American political discourse.


Henry, William A. "Forcing Gays Out of the Closet: Homosexual Leaders Seek to Expose Foes of the Movement." Time Magazine (January 29, 1990).

Keehnen, Owen. "Queer Theory Lunch: Talking with Michelangelo Signorile." 1994.

Mohr, Richard. Gay Ideas: Outing and Other Controversies. Boston: Beacon Press, 1992.

Rotello, Gabriel. "The Ethics of Outing: Breaking the Silence Code on Homosexuality." FineLine: The Newsletter On Journalism Ethics 2.2 (May 1990): 6; online at

Signorile, Michelangelo. Life Outside: The Signorile Report on Gay Men: Sex, Drugs, Muscles, and the Passages of Life. New York: Perennial, 1997.

_____. Outing Yourself: How to Come Out as Lesbian or Gay to Your Family, Friends, and Coworkers. New York: Random House, 1996.

_____. Queer in America: Sex, the Media, and the Closets of Power. New York: Random House, 1993.



    Citation Information
    Author: Cimino, Kenneth  
    Entry Title: Signorile, Michelangelo  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2005  
    Date Last Updated December 21, 2005  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2005, glbtq, inc.  


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