Act Up-Paris became one of the most notable protest groups in France in the mid-1990s. Founded in 1989, and following the New York model, it became a confrontational voice representing the interests of those affected by HIV through openly political activism. Action=Vie, the English-language translation of Christophe Broqua’s study of the grassroots activist branch, explains the reasons for the group’s success and sheds light on Act Up's defining features—such as its unique articulation between AIDS and gay activism.
Featuring numerous accounts by witnesses and participants, Broqua traces the history of Act Up-Paris and shows how thousands of gay men and women confronted the AIDS epidemic by mobilizing with public actions. Act Up-Paris helped shape the social definition not only of HIV-positive persons but also of sexual minorities. Broqua analyzes the changes brought about by the group, from the emergence of new treatments for HIV infection to normalizing homosexuality and a controversy involving HIV-positive writers’ remarks about unprotected sex. This rousing history ends in the mid-2000s before marriage equality and antiretroviral treatments caused Act Up-Paris to decline.
The right of same-sex couples to marry provoked decades of intense conflict before it was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015. Yet some of the most divisive contests shaping the quest for marriage equality occurred not on the culture-war front lines but within the ranks of LGBTQ advocates. Nathaniel Frank tells the dramatic story of how an idea that once seemed unfathomable—and for many gays and lesbians undesirable—became a legal and moral right in just half a century.Awakening begins in the 1950s, when millions of gays and lesbians were afraid to come out, let alone fight for equality. Across the social upheavals of the next two decades, a gay rights movement emerged with the rising awareness of the equal dignity of same-sex love. A cadre of LGBTQ lawyers soon began to focus on legal recognition for same-sex couples, if not yet on marriage itself. It was only after being pushed by a small set of committed lawyers and grassroots activists that established movement groups created a successful strategy to win marriage in the courts.Marriage equality proponents then had to win over members of their own LGBTQ community who declined to make marriage a priority, while seeking to rein in others who charged ahead heedless of their carefully laid plans. All the while, they had to fight against virulent antigay opponents and capture the American center by spreading the simple message that love is love, ultimately propelling the LGBTQ community—and America—immeasurably closer to justice.
The grassroots queer activism and legal challenges that led to a landmark Supreme Court decision in favor of gay and lesbian equality.
In 2003 the US Supreme Court overturned anti-sodomy laws across the country, ruling in Lawrence v. Texas that the Constitution protects private consensual sex between adults. To some, the decision seemed to come like lightning from above, altering the landscape of America’s sexual politics all at once. In actuality, many years of work and organizing led up to the legal case, and the landmark ruling might never have happened were it not for the passionate struggle of Texans who rejected their state’s discriminatory laws.
Before Lawrence v. Texas tells the story of the long, troubled, and ultimately hopeful road to constitutional change. Wesley G. Phelps describes the achievements, setbacks, and unlikely alliances along the way. Over the course of decades, and at great risk to themselves, gay and lesbian Texans and their supporters launched political campaigns and legal challenges, laying the groundwork for Lawrence. Phelps shares the personal experiences of the people and couples who contributed to the legal strategy that ultimately overturned the state’s discriminatory law. Even when their individual court cases were unsuccessful, justice seekers and activists collectively influenced public opinion by insisting that their voices be heard. Nine Supreme Court justices ruled, but it was grassroots politics that vindicated the ideal of equality under the law.
The story of how a biologically driven understanding of gender and sexuality became central to US LGBTQ+ political and legal advocacy.
Across protests and courtrooms, LGBTQ+ advocates argue that sexual and gender identities are innate. Oppositely, conservatives incite panic over “groomers” and a contagious “gender ideology” that corrupts susceptible children. Yet, as this debate rages on, the history of what first compelled the hunt for homosexuality’s biological origin story may hold answers for the queer rights movement’s future.
Born This Way tells the story of how a biologically based understanding of gender and sexuality became central to LGBTQ+ advocacy. Starting in the 1950s, activists sought out mental health experts to combat the pathologizing of homosexuality. As Joanna Wuest shows, these relationships were forged in subsequent decades alongside two broader, concurrent developments: the rise of an interest-group model of rights advocacy and an explosion of biogenetic and bio-based psychological research. The result is essential reading to fully understand LGBTQ+ activism today and how clashes over science remain crucial to equal rights struggles.
Eng develops the concept of “queer diasporas” as a critical response to queer liberalism. A methodology drawing attention to new forms of family and kinship, accounts of subjects and subjectivities, and relations of affect and desire, the concept differs from the traditional notions of diaspora, theories of the nation-state, and principles of neoliberal capitalism upon which queer liberalism thrives. Eng analyzes films, documentaries, and literature by Asian and Asian American artists including Wong Kar-wai, Monique Truong, Deann Borshay Liem, and Rea Tajiri, as well as a psychoanalytic case history of a transnational adoptee from Korea. In so doing, he demonstrates how queer Asian migrant labor, transnational adoption from Asia, and the political and psychic legacies of Japanese internment underwrite narratives of racial forgetting and queer freedom in the present. A focus on queer diasporas also highlights the need for a poststructuralist account of family and kinship, one offering psychic alternatives to Oedipal paradigms. The Feeling of Kinship makes a major contribution to American studies, Asian American studies, diaspora studies, psychoanalysis, and queer theory.
A bold and provocative look at how the nonprofit sphere’s expansion has helped—and hindered—the LGBT cause
What if the very structure on which social movements rely, the nonprofit system, is reinforcing the inequalities activists seek to eliminate? That is the question at the heart of this bold reassessment of the system’s massive expansion since the mid-1960s. Focusing on the LGBT movement, Myrl Beam argues that the conservative turn in queer movement politics, as exemplified by the shift toward marriage and legal equality, is due mostly to the movement’s embrace of the nonprofit structure.
Based on oral histories as well as archival research, and drawing on the author’s own extensive activist work, Gay, Inc. presents four compelling case studies. Beam looks at how people at LGBT nonprofits in Minneapolis and Chicago grapple with the contradictions between radical queer social movements and their institutionalized iterations. Through interview subjects’ incisive, funny, and heartbreaking commentaries, Beam exposes a complex world of committed people doing the best they can to effect change, and the flawed structures in which they participate, rail against, ignore, and make do.
Providing a critical look at a social formation whose sanctified place in the national imagination has for too long gone unquestioned, Gay, Inc. marks a significant contribution to scholarship on sexuality, neoliberalism, and social movements.
The passage of the anti-gay marriage Proposition 8 in California in 2008 stunned gay rights activists across the country. Although facing a well-funded campaign in support of the ballot measure, LGBT activists had good reasons for optimism, including the size and strength of their campaign. Since 1974, the LGBT movement has fought 146 anti-gay ballot initiatives sponsored by the religious right and has developed innovative strategies to oppose these measures. In Gay Rights at the Ballot Box, Amy L. Stone examines how the tactics of LGBT activists have evolved and unravels the complex relationship between ballot measure campaigns and the broader goals of the LGBT movement.
The first comprehensive history of anti-gay ballot measures, both those merely attempted and those successfully put before voters, this book draws on archival research and interviews with more than one hundred LGBT activists to provide a detailed account of the campaigns to stop such ballot measures from passing into law. As Stone shows through in-depth case studies, although LGBT activists lost the vast majority of these fights, they also won significant statewide victories in Oregon in 1992 and Arizona in 2006, and local successes, including ones in Ypsilanti, Michigan, in 1998 and 2002.
Stone analyzes how LGBT activists constantly refined their campaign tactics in response to both victories and defeats. She also stresses that such campaigns have played both a complementary and contradictory role within the LGBT movement. Specific anti-ballot campaigns and the broader movement do often strengthen each other. However, ballot measure campaigns sometimes distract activists from the movement’s more general goals, and activists at the movement level can pressure local campaigns to take on more than they can handle. With gay rights coming under increasing assault from the religious right, this book is a vital resource for LGBT activists and others working to block their efforts.
For decades, Singapore's gay activists have sought equality and justice in a state where law is used to stifle basic civil and political liberties. In her groundbreaking book, Mobilizing Gay Singapore, Lynette Chua asks, what does a social movement look like in an authoritarian state? She takes an expansive view of the gay movement to examine its emergence, development, strategies, and tactics, as well as the roles of law and rights in social processes.
Chua tells this important story using in-depth interviews with gay activists, observations of the movement's activities-including "Pink Dot" events, where thousands of Singaporeans gather in annual celebrations of gay pride-movement documents, government statements, and media reports. She shows how activists deploy "pragmatic resistance" to gain visibility and support, tackle political norms that suppress dissent, and deal with police harassment, while avoiding direct confrontations with the law.
Mobilizing Gay Singapore also addresses how these brave, locally engaged citizens come out into the open as gay activists and expand and diversify their efforts in the global queer political movement.
Out in the Union tells the continuous story of queer American workers from the mid-1960s through 2013. Miriam Frank shrewdly chronicles the evolution of labor politics with queer activism and identity formation, showing how unions began affirming the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workers in the 1970s and 1980s. She documents coming out on the job and in the union as well as issues of discrimination and harassment, and the creation of alliances between unions and LGBT communities.
Featuring in-depth interviews with LGBT and labor activists, Frank provides an inclusive history of the convergence of labor and LGBT interests. She carefully details how queer caucuses in local unions introduced domestic partner benefits and union-based AIDS education for health care workers-innovations that have been influential across the U.S. workforce. Out in the Union also examines organizing drives at queer workplaces, campaigns for marriage equality, and other gay civil rights issues to show the enduring power of LGBT workers.
This book explores the origins and history of the modern American movement for homosexual rights, which originated in Los Angeles in the late 1940s and continues today. Part ethnography and part social history, it is a detailed account of the history of the movement as manifested through the emergence of four related organizations: Mattachine, ONE Incorporated, the Homosexual Information Center (HIC), and the Institute for the Study of Human Resources (ISHR), which began doing business as ONE Incorporated when the two organizations merged in 1995. Pre-Gay L.A. is a chronicle of how one clandestine special interest association emerged as a powerful political force that spawned several other organizations over a period of more than sixty years.
Relying on extended interviews with participants as well as a full review of the archives of the Homosexual Information Center, C. Todd White unearths the institutional histories of the gay and lesbian rights movement and the myriad personalities involved, including Mattachine founder Harry Hay; ONE Magazine editors Dale Jennings, Donald Slater, and Irma Wolf; ONE Incorporated founder Dorr Legg; and many others. Fighting to decriminalize homosexuality and to obtain equal rights, the viable organizations that these individuals helped to establish significantly impacted legal policies not only in Los Angeles but across the United States, affecting the lives of most of us living in America today.
De la Dehesa studied the archives of activists, social-movement organizations, political parties, religious institutions, legislatures, and state agencies, and he interviewed hundreds of individuals, not only LGBT activists, but also feminists, AIDS and human-rights activists, party militants, journalists, academics, and state officials. He marshals his prodigious research to reveal the interplay between evolving representative institutions and LGBT activists’ entry into the political public sphere in Latin America, offering a critical analysis of the possibilities opened by emerging democratic arrangements, as well as their limitations. At the same time, exploring activists’ engagement with the international arena, he offers new insights into the diffusion and expression of transnational norms inscribing sexual rights within a broader project of liberal modernity. Queering the Public Sphere in Mexico and Brazil is a landmark examination of LGBT political mobilization.
Drawing on extensive archival and ethnographic research in New York City and San Francisco, Hanhardt traces the entwined histories of LGBT activism, urban development, and U.S. policy in relation to poverty and crime over the past fifty years. She highlights the formation of a mainstream LGBT movement, as well as the very different trajectories followed by radical LGBT and queer grassroots organizations. Placing LGBT activism in the context of shifting liberal and neoliberal policies, Safe Space is a groundbreaking exploration of the contradictory legacies of the LGBT struggle for safety in the city.
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