Dear Abby, I’m Gay

Newspaper Advice Columnists and Homosexuality in America


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About the Book

What role did America’s newspaper advice columnists play in shaping and forming societal attitudes toward LGBTQ people throughout the 20th century? They served the dual function of offering advice and satisfying the curious. They also often provided the first mention of homosexuality outside of newspaper crime blotters. More than 100 million readers regularly read the columns.

This book chronicles some of the most popular and widely circulated newspaper columns between the 1930s and 2000, including Ann Landers, Dear Abby, Helen Help Us!, Dr. Joyce Brothers, The Worry Clinic, Dear Meg, Ask Beth, and Savage Love. It examines the function of these columns regarding the place of LGBTQ people in America and what role they played in forming a public opinion. From these columns, we learn not only the framework of how straight Americans understood their homosexual brethren, but also how attitudes and feelings continued to evolve.

About the Author(s)

The late Andrew E. Stoner was a professor of communication studies at California State University, Sacramento, and the author of several nonfiction works, including biographies and true crime texts and had worked as both a newspaper reporter, and a communications expert in the public and private sectors.

Bibliographic Details

Andrew E. Stoner
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 225
Bibliographic Info: notes, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8496-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4310-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction 3
1. “Your Problems”—Ann Landers 9
2. “Dear Abby”—Abigail Van Buren 23
3. “Helen Help Us!”—Helen Bottel 39
4. “Ask Dr. Brothers”—Dr. Joyce Brothers 50
5. “The Worry Clinic”—Dr. George Crane 62
6. “Mary Haworth’s Mail”—Mary Haworth 87
7. “Dear Meg”—Margaret Whitcomb 102
8. “Ask Beth”—Elizabeth Winship 108
9. “Tell Me About It”—Carolyn Hax 124
10. “Dear Prudence”—Herb Stein, Margo Howard, Emily Yoffe and Mallory Ortberg/Daniel Lavery 135
11. “Ask Amy”—Amy Dickinson 149
12. “Since You Asked”—Cary Tennis 163
13. “Savage Love”—Dan Savage 171
14. Other Columnists—The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Miss Manners (Judith Martin), Cullen Moore, Dr. Walter C. Alvarez, Lew and Joanne Koch, the Rev. Billy Graham, Dr. Michael Fox, Dr. Lawrence E. Lamb and Lori Gottlieb 184
Chapter Notes 201
Index 215