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J Homosex. 2004;47(3-4):7-43.

Memoir and performance: social change and self life-writing among men who are gay pornography producers and actors.

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  • 1The University of Chicago, 5730 Woodlawn Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637-1603, USA.


Identity may be understood both as a life-story, either told or written as memoir or autobiography, and also as a practice such as producing or acting in gay pornographic film, but always within the context of social and historical change. Study of the memoirs of gay men who have been actors and/or producers of gay pornographic films across three generation cohorts provides an opportunity for understanding the interplay of social change and life circumstances in making gay identity. This perspective on identity is illustrated through the study of the memoirs of three men from different cohorts who have produced and acted in gay pornographic films: Wakefield Poole, born in 1936; Scott O'Hara, born in 1961; and Aaron Lawrence, born in 1971. Differences in style and content of both memoir and practice in gay pornographic films reflect changing social expectations regarding men who have sex with men following the emergence of the gay rights movement and the AIDS epidemic.

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