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Making Gay History: The Half-Century Fight for Lesbian and Gay Equal Rights

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  • Posted February 19, 2013

    Following the lives of gay individuals puts a different perspect

    Following the lives of gay individuals puts a different perspective on the LGBT community. Making Gay History begins in the 1940’s and documents the gay rights movement all the way to the 21st century; it illuminates struggle and discrimination in a time of national ignorance. With interviews from gay rights activists this novel captures the true meaning of being an LGBT individual and provides first hand evidence of the hardships that go along with that identity. From losing jobs to being beaten and even being left to die, Making Gay History displays a huge revolutionary movement that is unfamiliar to many people today. This novel opened my eyes to the work put in by LGBT individuals and the lengthy path the gay rights movement has traveled to get to where it is today. This book shows many different views from military veterans to celebrity TV stars and how drastically their lives have been affected. This was one of the few books about history that actually captivated me and truly opened my eyes to the radical movement. Civil rights are for every human being and should be exercised as so no matter their race, gender, or sexual orientation. Everyone is created equal. My favorite part of Making Gay History was the stories that some people had especially when their parents stood by their side through the battle. Most notable of the stories was the one of a man, “Copy” Berg, who got dishonorably discharged from the navy for his sexuality and his father, a navy chaplain and commander, stood out and openly expressed how wrong it was that such a fine young man with such a “personal sense of honor” be dishonorably discharged for “telling the truth”. This story showed the true love of a father that many (men especially) have difficulty displaying toward their gay child. My least favorite part of the book was the repetition of certain LGBT organizations and their activities. Although informative, much of the information seemed insignificant and repetitive. Overall, Making Gay History was one of the best, most enlightening, books I have ever read.

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  • Posted January 1, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    What is different about Mr. Marcus¿ book that separates it from

    What is different about Mr. Marcus’ book that separates it from the vast numbers of other LGBT collectables?

    For one thing, Mr. Marcus allows the characters in his work to speak for themselves. The author does remarkably little editing and most of that is setting the scene for each contributor. In all, over sixty individuals speak of their contribution to LGBT history. As Mr. Marcus puts it, “I’m offering just a taste as told through the stories and recollections of more than sixty people—from high-profile leaders to the little-known and largely forgotten men and woman who contributed in ways big and small.” This was enough to let me know that much of the material would be unfamiliar terrain, rather than previously read historical scenes told in a different way. But would it hold my interest? Mr. Marcus dispelled such concern in his introduction where he wrote,
    "Here and there I lowered my bucket into the rich, swirling waters of the gay rights movement. And what I found was astounding, heartbreaking, thrilling and ultimately inspiring."
    For the most part, his analysis of his work proved correct. Making History is a fascinating book that I found difficult to put down.
    He begins with “The years immediately following World War II [which] proved to be an especially fertile time for those gay men and women who dared to imagine that something could be done to improve the challenging conditions under which many of them lived.” His first story is the contribution of Dr. Evelyn Hooker.
    A young gay man slowly worked his way into a close friendship with his teacher, Ms. Hooker. In time he was able to talk the psychologist into researching and writing what became a landmark study of gay men. The main purpose of the study was to show that gay men are normal, not sick.
    Then there was Lisa Ben (her name an acronym for lesbian) who published the first known newsletter for lesbians in 1947.
    But Mr. Marcus does not write solely about LGBT political activists. He penetrates the entertainment field, the literary field, AIDS activists, religious workers, social workers, and others. The reader ends up with a rich diversity of LGBT personalities who made their mark on sexual minority history. Some of the names include such diverse persons as: Ellen DeGeneres, Al Gore, Kay Tobin Lahusen, Abigail Van Buren (Dear Abby), Randy Shilts (author of And the Band Played On), Bishop John Shelby Spong, Ray “Sylvia Lee” Rivera (cross-dresser of Stonewall fame), and many others.
    On the whole, I enjoyed Making Gay History and heartily recommend it to all who have a wider interest in all the manifestations of the background of the LGBT movement.
    Bruce Stores is author of: "CHRISTIAN SCIENCE: Its Encounter With Lesbian/Gay America" and "THE ISTHMUS: Stories of Mexico's Past, 1495 to 1995."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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