For hundreds of thousands of gay Americans, New York City is the literal gay metropolis: the place where they have learned how to live openly, honestly, and without shame. But the figurative gay metropolis is much larger: it encompasses every place on every continent where gay people have found the courage and the dignity to be free. 'The Gay Metropolis' is a compelling social and political history of modern gay life in America. Charles Kaiser is the first author to devote equal attention to the personal and the political, alternating between the intimate stories of people as famous as Leonard Bernstein and Gore Vidal and as little known as Sandy Kern, a young Brooklyn woman who first heard the word lesbian when a neighbor spied her with an arm around her girlfriend at the end of a wartime blackout. Though it focuses on New York City, 'The Gay Metropolis' includes stops in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Paris, Egypt, and Israel to capture wry, important, or novel tales. And it covers the major social, political, and cultural events that have affected the way gay people view themselves and how they have been treated by the larger society.