My heterosexist Modern American Literature professor mentioned the Beat Generation, briefly, as a literary movement that rebelled against 1950s conformity with drugs, jazz music, Eastern mysticism, and free love. He didn't mention that the "free love" was often gay. In fact, the main poem he assigned was: "Woman woman woman woman woman woman woman woman woman woman."
the famous summer of 1981, I discovered lots of gay content:
William S. Burroughs, who wrote weird impenetrable "cut up" novel (where he tore the pages up and reassembled them at random), but the heroes were gay junkie outsiders.
Paul Bowles (right), who moved to Morocco in 1947, drawn by the Muslim nonchalance to same-sex practices. In 1960 he met a young Berber named Mohammed Mrabet (left), and translated his autobiographical novel about rent-boys, Love with a Few Hairs.
By the way, the 1959 movie The Beat Generation, with Steve Cochran, has nothing to do with the Beat Generation.
Ginsberg's long-time lover Peter Orlovsky (right, with his brother), whose poetry was even more overtly homoerotic.
Leroi Jones, later Amiri Baraka, who renounced his gay identity to proclaim that gay men were devils.
They like sex with both men and women (they disapprove of "fags," who like only men), but are suspicious of women, who lead to marriage, settling down, domesticity, and conformity, a loss of something essential and noble. Men represent freedom, adventure, nonconformity, being true to yourself. In the end Sal chooses domesticity and rejects homoromance as "selfishness."
But on the way they are obviously lovers, and that in itself was freedom enough in the dull furrowed Midwest in 1981.