The Deviant’s War. The Homosexual vs. the United States of America

Updated: Feb 1

From Eric Cervini

Photo by Jakub Koziel


From a young Harvard and Cambridge-trained historian, the secret history of the fight for gay rights that began a generation before Stonewall.

In 1957, at the height of the Space Race, a government astronomer named Frank Kameny received a summons to report immediately to Washington, D.C. The Pentagon had reason to believe he was a homosexual. And for the first time, a homosexual fought back. Based on firsthand accounts, recently declassified FBI records, and forty thousand personal documents, The Deviant’s War unfolds over the course of the 1960s, as Kameny built a movement against the government’s gay purges.


It traces the forgotten ties that bound gay rights to the Black Freedom Movement, the New Left, lesbian activism, and trans resistance. Above all, it is a story of America (and Washington) at a cultural and sexual crossroads; of shocking, byzantine public battles with Congress; of FBI informants; murder; betrayal; sex; love; and ultimately victory.


“Required reading for queer people and straight allies”

-Garrard Conley, author of Boy Erased


The Deviant's War: The Homosexual vs. the United States of America


About Eric Cervini:

Dr. Eric Cervini is an award-winning historian of LGBTQ+ politics and culture. He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College and received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Cambridge, where he was a Gates Scholar.

As an authority on 1960s gay activism, Cervini serves on the Board of Directors of the Harvard Gender and Sexuality Caucus and on the Board of Advisors of the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C., a nonprofit dedicated to the preservation of gay American history. His award-winning digital exhibitions have been featured in Harvard’s Rudenstine Gallery, and he has presented his research to audiences across America and the United Kingdom.

He lives in Los Angeles with his two plants, Coco Montrese and Fig O’Hara.