The problem is as follows: Gay people, since forever, have mostly been born into straight families.

Heterosexual procreation is great and all—thanks, mom and dad—but heterosexuals tend to be better at making gay babies than raising them. Even if a hetero couple is thrilled to have made a gay, they're not likely to regale their son or daughter with tales of Stonewall, or what the baths in San Francisco used to be like before they were closed, or why the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival is so important, or why Brandon Teena should be remembered.

Every queer person has to figure all of this out on his or her own. Some do, but a lot don't, especially now, when being gay seems to require less and less explanation—to oneself and to the culture at large.

But really, homos. Even if the bad old days are receding, there's no excuse for gay cultural illiteracy. Being a modern gay doesn't have to equal being a stupid faggot, or a dumb dyke, someone with no sense of what produced this particular queer moment.

We sympathize. Biology doesn't make it easy to pass on gay cultural knowledge through the family structure. But that's where other queers—smart, savvy queers, who remember and read and give a fuck—come in. For this, our comprehensive history of gay life from Homo erectus to homo-internet-addictus, The Stranger assembled a group of such queers. Read on, and they'll tell you everything you need to know to avoid being homo ignoramus.