LGBTQ Politicians and Social Change

To celebrate Pride Month, our Review of the Week features an engaging new history of the mavericks of the LGBTQ rights movement

The children of Harvey Milk : how LGBTQ politicians changed the world

Reynolds, Andrew. Oxford, 2018
354p bibl index, 9780190460952 $34.95, 9781400890262

The Children of Harvey Milk: How LGBTQ Politicians Changed the World book cover

What has caused many people and societies to decide that homosexuality is acceptable and that gay and transgender men and women deserve rights and legal equality? In a labor of impressive scholarship, Reynolds (political science, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) demonstrates that LGBTQ individuals serving openly in the political realm have been the major instigators of this change. He makes his point in a collection of historical, exciting, and moving stories—stories with endings both tragic and happy. In the very beginning, Reynolds tells of Harvey Milk (1930–78) but also of Gilbert Baker (1951–2017), who created and sewed together the iconic rainbow flag. He includes histories of LGBTQ political advances from the South Pacific, Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. The diverse geographies of his vignettes remind one that along with the solid victories in the West, countless gay and transgender people throughout the world live continuously in the face of extreme violence. This volume joins such other valuable histories of the LGBTQ rights movement as Lisa Stulberg’s LGBTQ Social Movements (CH, Oct’18, 56-0893) and Lillian Faderman’s The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle (CH, Feb’16, 53-2763).

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers.
Reviewer: J. Goins, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Subject: Social & Behavioral Sciences – Sociology
Choice Issue: May 2019