The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle

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The sweeping story of the struggle for gay and lesbian rights—based on amazing interviews with politicians, military figures, and members of the entire LGBT community who face these challenges every day: “This is the history of the gay and lesbian movement that we’ve been waiting for” (The Washington Post).

The fight for gay and lesbian civil rights—the years of outrageous injustice, the early battles, the heart-breaking defeats, and the victories beyond the dreams of the gay rights pioneers—is the most important civil rights issue of the present day. In “the most comprehensive history to date of America’s gay-rights movement” (The Economist), Lillian Faderman tells this unfinished story through the dramatic accounts of passionate struggles with sweep, depth, and feeling.

The Gay Revolution begins in the 1950s, when gays and lesbians were criminals, psychiatrists saw them as mentally ill, churches saw them as sinners, and society victimized them with hatred. Against this dark backdrop, a few brave people began to fight back, paving the way for the revolutionary changes of the 1960s and beyond. Faderman discusses the protests in the 1960s; the counter reaction of the 1970s and early eighties; the decimated but united community during the AIDS epidemic; and the current hurdles for the right to marriage equality.

“A compelling read of a little-known part of our nation’s history, and of individuals whose stories range from heart-wrenching to inspiring to enraging to motivational” (Chicago Tribune), The Gay Revolution paints a nuanced portrait of the LGBT civil rights movement. A defining account, this is the most complete and authoritative book of its kind.
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About the author

Lillian Faderman is an internationally known scholar of lesbian history and literature, as well as ethnic history and literature. Among her many honors are six Lambda Literary Awards, two American Library Association Awards, and several lifetime achievement awards for scholarship. She is the author of The Gay Revolution and the New York Times Notable Books, Surpassing the Love of Men and Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Sep 8, 2015
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Pages
816
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ISBN
9781451694130
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Language
English
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Genres
History / General
History / Social History
History / United States / 20th Century
Social Science / LGBT Studies / Gay Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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A landmark account of gay and lesbian creative networks and the seismic changes they brought to twentieth-century culture

In a hugely ambitious study which crosses continents, languages, and almost a century, Gregory Woods identifies the ways in which homosexuality has helped shape Western culture. Extending from the trials of Oscar Wilde to the gay liberation era, this book examines a period in which increased visibility made acceptance of homosexuality one of the measures of modernity.
 
Woods shines a revealing light on the diverse, informal networks of gay people in the arts and other creative fields. Uneasily called “the Homintern” (an echo of Lenin’s “Comintern”) by those suspicious of an international homosexual conspiracy, such networks connected gay writers, actors, artists, musicians, dancers, filmmakers, politicians, and spies. While providing some defense against dominant heterosexual exclusion, the grouping brought solidarity, celebrated talent, and, in doing so, invigorated the majority culture.
 
Woods introduces an enormous cast of gifted and extraordinary characters, most of them operating with surprising openness; but also explores such issues as artistic influence, the coping strategies of minorities, the hypocrisies of conservatism, and the effects of positive and negative discrimination. Traveling from Harlem in the 1910s to 1920s Paris, 1930s Berlin, 1950s New York and beyond, this sharply observed, warm-spirited book presents a surpassing portrait of twentieth-century gay culture and the men and women who both redefined themselves and changed history.
Few conventions were left unchallenged in the 1970s as Americans witnessed a decade of sweeping social, cultural, economic, and political upheavals. The fresh anguish of the Vietnam War, the disillusionment of Watergate, the recession, and the oil embargo all contributed to an era of social movements, political mistrust, and not surprisingly, rich cultural diversity. It was the "Me Decade," a reaction against 60s radicalism reflected in fashion, film, the arts, and music. Songs of the Ramones, the Sex Pistols, and Patti Smith brought the aggressive punk-rock music into the mainstream, introducing teenagers to rebellious punk fashions. It was also the decade of disco: Who can forget the image of John Travolta as Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever decked out in a three-piece white leisure suit with his shirt collar open, his hand points towards the heavens as the lighted disco floor glares defiantly below him? While the turbulent decade ushered in Ms. magazine, Mood rings, Studio 54, Stephen King horror novels, and granola, it was also the decade in which over 25 million video game systems made their way into our homes, allowing Asteroids and Pac-Man games to be played out on televisions in living rooms throughout the country. Whether it was the boom of environmentalism or the bust of the Nixon administration and public life as we knew it, the era represented a profound shift in American society and culture. This compelling book chronicles the significant changes in our country during the 70s, from the women's and civil rights movements to the energy crisis. Chapters explore various aspects of popular culture, including advertising, literature, leisure activities, visual arts, and travel. Supplemental resources include a timeline of important events, cost comparisons, and an extensive bibliography for further reading.
A unique and “often quite moving” look at gay women’s role in US history (The Washington Post).

In this “essential and impassioned addition to American history,” the three-time Lambda Literary Award winner and author of Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers focuses on a select group of late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century lesbians who were in the forefront of the battle to procure the rights and privileges that large numbers of Americans enjoy today (Kirkus Reviews).
 
Hoping to “set the record straight (or, in this case, unstraight)” for all Americans and provide a “usable past” for lesbians in particular, Lillian Faderman persuasively argues that the sexual orientation of her subjects may in fact have facilitated their accomplishments. With impeccably drawn portraits of such seminal figures as Susan B. Anthony, Carrie Chapman Catt, and Eleanor Roosevelt, To Believe in Women “will raise eyebrows and consciousness” (Dianne Wood Middlebrook). As Faderman writes in her introduction, “This is a book about how millions of American women became what they are now: full citizens, educated, and capable of earning a decent living for themselves.”
 
A landmark work of impeccable research and compelling readability, To Believe in Women is an enlightening and surprising read.
 
“For those who need a dose of pride and a slice of history, Faderman’s portraits should strike a popular note. ‘To Believe in Women’ is a decent starting point for learning about these pioneers and their contributions to American life.” —The New York Times
An unprecedented examination of the ways in which the uninhibited urban sexuality, sexual experimentation, and medical advances of pre-Weimar Berlin created and molded our modern understanding of sexual orientation and gay identity.

Known already in the 1850s for the friendly company of its “warm brothers” (German slang for men who love other men), Berlin, before the turn of the twentieth century, became a place where scholars, activists, and medical professionals could explore and begin to educate both themselves and Europe about new and emerging sexual identities. From Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, a German activist described by some as the first openly gay man, to the world of Berlin’s vast homosexual subcultures, to a major sex scandal that enraptured the daily newspapers and shook the court of Emperor William II—and on through some of the very first sex reassignment surgeries—Robert Beachy uncovers the long-forgotten events and characters that continue to shape and influence the way we think of sexuality today.

Chapter by chapter Beachy’s scholarship illuminates forgotten firsts, including the life and work of Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, first to claim (in 1896) that same-sex desire is an immutable, biologically determined characteristic, and founder of the Institute for Sexual Science. Though raided and closed down by the Nazis in 1933, the institute served as, among other things, “a veritable incubator for the science of tran-sexuality,” scene of one of the world’s first sex reassignment surgeries. Fascinating, surprising, and informative—Gay Berlin is certain to be counted as a foundational cultural examination of human sexuality.


From the Hardcover edition.
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