Rofes grew up in Commack, New York and he graduated from Harvard University. He received a master's degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 1995 and a doctorate in social and cultural studies in 1998.
He was appointed to the White House Conference on the Family in 1980. He became director of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center in the 1980s.
In 1989 Rofes became executive director of the Shanti Project, a nonprofit AIDS service organization in San Francisco. He resigned in 1993, following an audit that questioned how the group had spent federal funds.
In 1998, while doing his PhD at UC Berkeley, Rofes wrote Dry Bones Breathe: Gay Men Creating Post-AIDS Identities and Cultures, in which he argued that the AIDS crisis had passed and gay men needed to free themselves from the sense of emergency and victimhood. A review in The Nation described Dry Bones Breathe as "perhaps the most important book about gay male culture and community of the past decade." However, the book has also been castigated for only limning the experiences of 'middle-class, urban, white, gay men' instead of being more societally inclusive.
Rofes was a professor of Education at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California, and served on the board of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and White Crane Institute.
Rofes was in Provincetown, Massachusetts, working on his 13th book when he died of a heart attack. Humboldt State has established the Eric Rofes Center as a new program in his honor to continue his work in gay activism.
One of the last projects Rofes worked on was the creation, with Chris Bartlett, of a series of "Gay Men's Health Leadership Academies" to combat what he saw as a "pathology-focused understanding of gay men" in safe-sex education. These workshops have continued as a continuation of his legacy.
Eric Rofes at The Center, 1988, by Robert Giard (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/dl_crosscollex/brbldl_getrec.asp?fld=img&id=1124033)
American photographer Robert Giard is renowned for his portraits of American poets and writers; his particular focus was on gay and lesbian writers. Some of his photographs of the American gay and lesbian literary community appear in his groundbreaking book Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers, published by MIT Press in 1997. Giard’s stated mission was to define the literary history and cultural identity of gays and lesbians for the mainstream of American society, which perceived them as disparate, marginal individuals possessing neither. In all, he photographed more than 600 writers. (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/digital
Youth and Sexualities: Pleasure, Subversion, and Insubordination In and Out of Schools by Mary Louise Rasmussen, Eric Rofes & Susan Talburt
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; First Edition edition (November 18, 2004)
Amazon: Youth and Sexualities: Pleasure, Subversion, and Insubordination In and Out of Schools
These cutting-edge international essays challenge dominant narratives of queer youth predicated on oppression and victimization. As school systems address the emergence of Gay-Straight Alliances and calls to provide equal educational access, researchers, educators and youth workers are paying increasing attention to sexuality, gender and schooling. Yet present discourses are limited to liberal understandings of tolerance, safety, and equity that are defined by a separation of "queer" and "normal." This text documents and offers radical interpretations of the creativity of queer youth in challenging existing practices. Interdisciplinary analyses offer multiple vantage points for reconceptualizing adolescent sexual subjectivities and institutional and cultural practices.
Dry Bones Breathe: Gay Men Creating Post-AIDS Identities and Cultures by Eric Rofes
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Harrington Park Press; 1 edition (April 15, 1998)
Amazon: Dry Bones Breathe: Gay Men Creating Post-AIDS Identities and Cultures
Dry Bones Breathe: Gay Men Creating Post-AIDS Identities and Cultures breaks new ground in offering an original and insightful interpretation of gay men’s shifting experience of the AIDS epidemic. From Dry Bones Breathe, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of current community debates focused on circuit parties, unprotected sex, and gay men’s sexual cultures, and you will learn how social, political, and biomedical changes are dramatically transforming gay identities and cultures.
Dry Bones Breathe is Eric Rofes’explosive follow-up to Reviving the Tribe, a book which broke open debates in gay communities around the world about sex, identity, and gay men’s relationship to AIDS. In this volume, Rofes contends that most gay men no longer experience AIDS as the crisis they did during the 1980s. Gay men often attribute this shift to the advent of protozoa inhibitors, but Rofes explains how other factors, including the epidemic’s predicted trajectory, new treatments for opportunistic infections, the passage of time, and the increasing diversity of gay men inhabiting communities throughout the country have set in motion the transformation of gay life.
AIDS organizations and gay leaders, however, continue to assert that gay men experience AIDS as an emergency, resulting in a tremendous dissonance between gay leaders and their communities. In the midst of this controversy, Dry Bones Breathe lets you share in stories of hope and recovery and a new vision for AIDS work that demands a radical redesign of prevention, care, and activism.
Reviving the Tribe: Regenerating Gay Men's Sexuality and Culture in the Ongoing Epidemic (Haworth Gay & Lesbian Studies) by Eric E. Rofes
Paperback: 318 pages
Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (December 10, 1995)
Amazon: Reviving the Tribe: Regenerating Gay Men's Sexuality and Culture in the Ongoing Epidemic
Reviving the Tribe creates a rich and brutally honest portrait of contemporary gay men’s lives amidst the seemingly endless AIDS epidemic and offers both autobiographical self-examination and a relentless critique of current sexual politics within the gay community. Fearlessly confronting the horrors experiences by surviving gay men without giving way to hopelessness, denial, or blame, Reviving the Tribe offers an inspiring blueprint for the gay community which faces a continuing spiral of disaster.
In Reviving the Tribe, Author Eric Rofes argues that a return to the interrupted agenda of gay liberation may provide long-term motivation to keep gay men alive and spur rejuvenation of new generations of gay culture. By interweaving social history, psychology, anthropology, epidemiology, sociology, feminist theory, and sexology with his own journey through the epidemic, Rofes provides a moving and compelling argument for stepping out of the “state of emergency” and embracing a life beyond disease. He boldly offers a plan for community regeneration focused on restoring mental health, reclaiming sexuality, and mending the social fabric of communal gay life.
More Particular Voices at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Particular Voices
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