Queer Political Struggle

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It was while excitedly going through this list of LGBT Labor History, featuring links to articles, books and interviews that show the extensive influence of organizing, building and advocating LGBTQ+ people had in the labor movement, that I thought to look into the library catalog to see what parts of queer political history have been written about so far.

As with many marginalized groups, not all of this history will be available in book form, or will be uncovered yet. But, as with other marginalized groups, the existence, rights and dignity of LGBTQ+ have been frequently litigated and challenged by laws and ballot measures.

The struggle to change that – to fight back – is gaining more and more coverage in mainstream publications, in part because of the 50th anniversary of Pride in 2019. Here is a selection of recent-ish non-memoir and non-biographical titles (and one indispensable classic) on different aspects of queer political struggle and how the politicization of queerness has shaped LGBTQ+ lives and communities.

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Gay Rights at the Ballot Box

Since 1974, there have been over 100 ballot measures that seek to limit or quash gay civil rights. Stone offers an analysis of these fights and the tactics used by LGBTQ+ activists who seek to oppose them and gain support for their rights.

Love and Resistance: Out of the Closet Into the Stonewall Era

A powerful collection of photographs housed in the New York Public Library’s archive of the work of photojournalists Kay Tobin Lahusen and Diana Davies. This book is full of photos of the Stonewall riots and the activism around it. The photos and captions immerse the reader in this world in a way that history books can’t, and showcase the power and diversity of the activists. “Love and Resistance” is a powerful look at these moments as they happen. 

Real Queer America: LGBT Stories From Red States

Throughout Real Queer America, transgender writer Samantha Allen vows to do “something gay every day.” It may not seem like that hard of a task if she was ensconced in a major city like New York or Chicago with its concentrations of gay residents. It becomes a bit harder in the Deep South or the Rio Grande Valley. Yet, throughout Allen’s travels, she shows that there is plenty of gay life that is happening well outside metropolitan hubs. 

This title is also available for checkout as an eBook on Hoopla. 

The Stonewall Reader

A collection culled from the LGBTQ archives of the New York Public Library offers perspectives on gay life before the uprising at Stonewall, first-person narratives from the night, and articles from LGBTQ publications following the event, highlighting the role of trans and BIPOC activists in the movement.