Outstanding Academic Titles 2020: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Studies

Enjoy these five book reviews taken from our 2020 Outstanding Academic Titles list, highlighting Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Studies

Enjoy these five book reviews taken from our 2020 Outstanding Academic Titles list, highlighting LGBTQ topics.

1. Queer objects
ed. by Chris Brickell and Judith Collard Rutgers, 2019

Queer objects book cover

In this masterful volume, the material culture of the LGBTQ+ community is sumptuously depicted. Both coffee-table book and academic tome, Queer Objects is richly illustrated with huge, colorful photos on nearly every one of its 400-plus pages. The editors (both, Univ. of Otago, New Zealand) chose 63 objects that have symbolism or meaning to the LGBTQ+ community, and individual contributors—some of them with connection to the objects—write about them. Objects vary from punk jackets to Speedos, from the AIDS quilt to the rotary dial phone. There is an over-determined emphasis on New Zealand/Australian artifacts due to the origins of the editors and many of contributors. Still, the volume is a heady history of the gay community that transfixes because the individual artifacts have both a specialized meaning to the owner or recipient yet display larger themes about LGBTQ+ history. Well balanced in that the multiplicity of the artifacts reflects the rich diversity of the gay community, Queer Objects is difficult to put down.
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2. Transgressed: intimate partner violence in transgender lives
Guadalupe-Diaz, Xavier L. New York University, 2019

Transgressed: intimate partner violence in transgender lives book cover

Guadalupe-Diaz (Framingham State Univ.) fills an important gap in the literature on intimate partner violence (IPV) in the trans community. This study is the only book on the market that specifically focuses on the ways in which IPV is experienced when trans individuals are the victims/survivors. Drawing on in-depth interviews with trans victims/survivors, the author explores the ways in which victims’ gender identities are used as a tool in the arsenal of abusers. Guadalupe-Diaz later discusses the need for expanding feminist and queer theories of IPV to accommodate the experiences of trans folks and offers substantive recommendations for addressing IPV in the trans community when it occurs. View on Amazon


3. LGBTQ Americans in the U.S. political system: an encyclopedia of activists, voters, candidates, and officeholders
ed. by Jason Pierceson ABC-CLIO, 2020

LGBTQ Americans in the U.S. political system: an encyclopedia of activists, voters, candidates, and officeholders book cover

This two-volume encyclopedia is a welcome and competent new resource for anyone with exploratory questions, as well as an ideal quick-reference guide for seasoned scholars in the field. Pierceson (Univ. of Illinois, Springfield), a professor of political science and published writer on politics relating to gender, sexuality, and marriage equality, has edited this accessible text, which includes an in-depth chronology, a cross-referenced guide of related topics, pertinent primary sources, and a selection of substantive essays for context. The encyclopedia, written in a suitably readable manner for undergraduates, is filtered through the lens of political science, yet remains highly attentive to its intersections with the tenets of LGBT history, queer theory, and gender and sexuality studies. For example, the entries on the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP), the LGBTQ Victory Fund, and Reverend Troy Perry contain background history, cross-references, and options for further reading. View on Amazon


4. The madness of crowds: gender, race and identity
Murray, Douglas. Bloomsbury Continuum, 2019

The madness of crowds: gender, race and identity book cover

In this bold and timely work, Murray (a prolific political columnist and debater based in the UK) exposes the madness in current social justice movements and the power of that madness in public discourse. Murray is no reactionary: he celebrates the extension of rights to women, the GLBTQ population, and racial minorities. He is a modern liberal who is satisfied with recent gains in equality. What bewilders and troubles him is the unrelenting push for more—for going from what he frames as equal to better. He criticizes the new and dense minefields of public discourse, which prevent critical, complex thought and self-reflection. Innocent comments can send one begging for mercy before the crowd. After documenting the excesses, contradictions, and unforgiving nastiness of these movements, he concludes that this madness is an instrument for a project of destruction, both societal and personal.
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5Love falls on us: a story of American ideas and African LGBT lives
Corey-Boulet, Robbie. Zed Books, 2019

Love falls on us: a story of American ideas and African LGBT lives book cover

In this thoughtful volume, Corey-Boulet, a veteran Associated Press journalist with several years’ experience working in West Africa, explores the collision of the international promotion of LGBT civil rights with foreign donors’ interests in Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, and Liberia. Drawing on both personal interviews and documentation (international and in-country) to provide detailed context, he examines how these competing priorities intersect to affect the legal, social, and political realities of life for men and women in these African countries. The opening section on Cameroon discusses the May 2005 police raid on a club in the capital, Yaounde, and the trial of the group of men who became known as the “Yaounde 11,” highlighting the low-key work being done by local activists and their degree of success. Next, the situation in Côte d’Ivoire is explored through one man’s story, organizations founded by Ivorian LGBT people, and a widely publicized scandal.
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