Lessons in Activism

In honor of Pride month, our Review of the Week looks at one state’s colorful history of LGBT activism

No place like home: lessons in activism from LGBT Kansas

Janovy, C. J. University Press of Kansas, 2018
297p bibl index, 9780700625284 $29.95, 9780700625291

No place like home: lessons in activism from LGBT Kansas book cover

Janovy (Kansas City Public Radio) offers an exceptional portrayal of LGBT activism in Kansas and LGBT folks who proudly claim the state as their home. The book is organized into four parts. Part 1 depicts the personal and political losses LGBT persons encountered in Kansas during the early 2000s. Part 2 outlines the revival of LGBT activism within Kansas, with activists developing new alliances, goals, and targets. Part 3 describes additional losses alongside minor victories (e.g., establishing gay-straight alliances in high schools) and learning from past mistakes (e.g., the error of including sexual orientation, but not gender identity, in proposed nondiscrimination ordinances). And part 4 discusses an evolving acceptance of LGBT persons and current LGBT successes in municipalities across the state. This exquisitely written book captures the experiences and emotions of everyday activists and shows how politics informs personal lives (e.g., when a city council vote can make a LGBT person feel un/accepted within a community). This work reveals how losses regarding pro-LGBT policies and protections “in the long game, often built to victories.” A riveting, insightful love letter to Kansas’s unsung LGBT heroes.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.
Reviewer: T. E. Adams, Bradley University
Subject: Social & Behavioral Sciences – Political Science – U.S. Politics
Choice Issue: Jul 2018