December 13, 1996


Though being gay no longer has much of a stigma in some parts of the country, being a sissy still does — even among gay men. In this show we have a number of surprising and unusual stories of sissies, their families, and why people still get so upset about them.


This American Life producer Nancy Updike on a family where the father was one kind of sissy and the son was another kind, and how the family was destroyed despite the fact that no one wanted it to be. (23 minutes)


“I'm In Such Pain From Loving You” by Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton, and Emmylou Harris

Instructions For Sissies

Chicago performance artist John Conners reads from a 1942 book called How To Improve Your Personality, from a chapter instructing men on how to avoid being sissies. (6 minutes)

The Other Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name

Seattle writer and syndicated sex columnist Dan Savage, on how there's a stigma against sissies even among gay men. Gay personals ads are filled with men who want "straight acting/straight appearing" partners. Girly boys need not apply. Savage prefers swishier men and believes they actually have to be braver than homosexuals who can pass for straight. (15 minutes)

Original musical scoring throughout the hour by The Aluminum Group.