Chapter 1 (Introduction)
A discussion of terminology, some of the cross-cultural problems of defining the topic of the book, and a statement of intent.
Chapter 2 (In the Beginning: 40,000-1200 BCE)
As the article title indicates, this primarily focuses on men. The bulk of the article focuses on a treatise on love titled “The Dove’s Neck-Ring about Love and Lovers”, written by Ibn Hazm in 10th century Spain. Ibn Hazm includes a scattering of anecdotes and discussions of love between men in a greater preponderance of heterosexual material, but also contains a single reference to love between women. The item is short enough to be worth invoking fair use and quoting Crompton’s paragraph in full:
A satiric poem from a man to his female rival for his beloved, using metaphors such as “you can’t patch a hole with a hole” and “what use is a hammer without a handle?” to argue the superiority of heterosex over grinding.
An anecdote about the female entertainer Bathal who, when singing to a male client, substituted a lyric in praise of "grinding" (sex between women). Her client contradicted her, but then requested that she finish the song and offers more lyrics that are in favor of grinding.
This work is a compilation of two lectures and a collection of primary texts in translation. The first chapter is a lecture sponsored by Aswat a Palestinian lesbian organization. It discusses issues of identity and especially issues around coming out in modern Islamic society.
“Travesty” comes literally from “cross-dress” with the theatrical term later picking up its sense of general transgression. Anyone familiar with theater and opera from Shakespeare onward is aware how popular it was to include gender disguise in its many forms and consequences. The two most common expressions both revolve around anxiety about female-female desire: a woman disguised as a man who attracts female romantic attention, or a man disguised as a woman to gain intimate access to a woman who then worries about the ensuing “wrong” erotic attraction.