We’ve come a long way baby!
Yes, we still have a significant amount of road left to travel but, oh, what a ride it’s been!
With all of the negative news lately – political mudslinging by both parties, a concerning push by far right conservatives to impress Christian values upon government that was founded based on both religious freedom and a separation of church and state, fast food chains supporting hate groups with corporate dollars (Chic-Fil-A, in case you’ve been out of the country), States voting against same sex marriage (South Carolina) and on, and on I just wanted to step back and revel in some good things for once. That’s why I picked up Linda Hirschman’s book, Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution.
Victory is a walk through our collective gay and lesbian history through the eyes, words and deeds of the activists and organizations, since Stonewall, that have had so much affect on making things happen. While I took insight and information form the whole book, two chapters really stood out for me; Chapter 6, “Dying for the Movement: The Terrible Political Payoff of AIDS” and Chapter 8, “Failed Marriages and Losing Battles: The Premature Campaign for Marriage and Military Service”.
Now, you might be thinking, “How did those two chapters allow her to revel in some good things?” As Hirshman’s book lays out so well, it was the subjects of those two chapters and specifically the AIDS epidemic that mobilized the gay community and brought us out to fight for access, rights and equality.
There are a lot of LGBT histories out there. There are a lot of books that look at the political and social ramifications of the gay rights movement. This is the first one I’ve found that marries the two well and that does it, not from the author’s only perspective (she’s just the reporting vehicle) but from the perspective of several people who were leading the charge in various areas. Linda Hirshman went out there and pounded pavement and got people to talk. This book is the result and it’s a good one!