Home » Nonfiction » Lisa M. Tillmann-Healy » Between Gay and Straight

December 16 , 2009

Between Gay and Straight

Understanding Friendship Across Sexual Orientation


It started as a class project—a young, married, small-town white woman interviewing a gay acquaintance and his circle of friends. From this developed a three-year exploration of the complexities of carrying on gay-straight friendships. This reflexive, thoughtful, and compellingly written study moves from gay bars to softball leagues to visits with families and friends, both gay and straight. During its course, the author develops a growing understanding of the differences between the two communities, the difficulties of developing bonds across groups, and the inherent rewards of seeking (and being) the Other in contemporary society. She explores sexuality, marriage, lifestyles, and the meanings of friendship, culminating in a boisterous dissertation defense attended by her new community of friends. As a study of a gay community, a narrative of personal development and change, and an exploration of the use of friendship in conducting research that transforms both participants and researcher, Tillmann-Healy's work will be compelling reading for scholars, students, and the broader community.

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