They turned out to be vanguards of a movement that legitimized the freedom of sexual expression. Homophile leaders were jealous of the physique's popularity and income stream. Bringing these vintage photos out of the closet -- and sharing them with the world -- is just one more way to show that we have always been here. The post office determined that these magazines were encouraging homosexuality in American society and launched a campaign to stop them. They helped create a sense among their readership of being part of an oppressed minority group, one that required a collective response. Through these magazines, they knew there were tens of thousands of other 'physique enthusiasts' like themselves out there. Flea Market in NYC back in the '80s.
Content is presented in a factual manner, and Johnson tells the story with an appropriate amount of drama without sensationalizing anything.
It's why I suggest we think of this period not as the homophile era but the physique era, since they were the dominant gay media presence of the period. Johnson tells the story of the rise and decline of physique magazines during the period from to in his new book on the subject, "Buying Gay: How Physique Entrepreneurs Sparked A Movement" Columbia University Pressas well as arguing that both homophile organizations and physique enterprises were fulfilling many of the same functions — fostering community, providing legal advice, and fighting repression among others, but the latter surpassed the former both in numbers and influence such that gay commerce was not a byproduct of the gay movement but a catalyst to it. The magazines became increasingly interactive — offering customers opportunities to connect with other customers, a kind of analog version of what today we call social media.
The Huffington Post: