The struggles for the rights of racial minorities, women, and LGBT people have transformed American life over the last two generations. The LGBT movement’s success has been perhaps the most surprising of the three. Both the civil rights and the feminist movements have deep roots in the nineteenth and even eighteenth centuries. The quest for LGBT equality is a much more recent development, and in contrast to the civil rights and feminist movements, its history is not well known and many of its most important leaders remain obscure. Faderman’s well-organized and comprehensive history focuses on the work of courageous leaders who belonged to a despised minority but nevertheless managed to challenge and ultimately defeat some of the strongest taboos in American society. Faderman is less interested in the story of what led Americans to hear and appreciate the arguments of lgbt leaders. That story remains to be told. In the meantime, anyone who wants to understand the gay rights movement and the profound impact it has had on the United States would do well to consult this eminently readable and well-researched book.
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