Virtual Equality: The Mainstreaming of Gay and Lesbian Liberation

Overview

Since the decade to lift the ban on gays in the military, the emergence of gay conservatives, and the onslaught of antigay initiatives across America, the gay and lesbian community has been asking itself tough questions: Where should the movement go?  What do we want?  In Virtual Equality, veteran activist Urvashi Vaid tackles these questions with a unique combination of visionary politics and hard-earned pragmatism.

Vaid defines the current ...

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Overview

Since the decade to lift the ban on gays in the military, the emergence of gay conservatives, and the onslaught of antigay initiatives across America, the gay and lesbian community has been asking itself tough questions: Where should the movement go?  What do we want?  In Virtual Equality, veteran activist Urvashi Vaid tackles these questions with a unique combination of visionary politics and hard-earned pragmatism.

Vaid defines the current status of gay America as one of "virtual equality, " a state of conditional equality based more on the appearance of acceptance by straight America, rather than actual civil equality. With hard-hitting analysis, Vaid begins the call-to-arms to the gay and lesbian community to begin the work necessary to achieve real and lasting equality with the rest of America.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The gay rights movement, by pursuing an incremental, civil rights strategy of tolerance and mainstream integration, has paradoxically won for homosexuals only ``virtual equality,'' a second-class status disguised as acceptance, charges Vaid, former executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. In a thoroughgoing critique, she calls for a resurgence of gay activism to end discrimination at all levels, urging the creation of a nationwide federation unifying state and grassroots organizations, as well as a computerized network to train gay and lesbian leaders. Lawyer and activist Vaid wants the movement to adopt a new ethic that will regard the closet as ``immoral'' and ``intrinsically evil''; nevertheless, she rejects outing as morally indefensible. She cautions activists to distinguish Pat Robertson, David Duke, Pat Buchanan and others whom she labels homophobic ``supremacists,'' those who would impose their version of Christianity on society, from the broad conservative middle. Her manifesto includes a frank discussion of fund-raising, racial and gender divisions within the movement and the impact of AIDS. Author tour. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Longtime gay activist and past director of the Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Vaid has written a passionate account of the most recent successes and failures in the movement for full equality for gays and lesbians in America. Part memoir, part social activist primer, her book observes the "mainstreaming" of the gay rights movement with dismay, concluding that it has been coopted into accepting a stagnant and vulnerable "virtual equality," where lip service is paid to gay power elites while the rest of gay America suffers under a right-wing political backlash. Vaid examines the great difficulties of forging a political alliance among people who often have nothing in common other than sexual orientation. Unlike Andrew Sullivan in Virtually Normal (LJ 9/1/95), she positions herself squarely in the liberationist camp, arguing that only a fundamental change in society will bring about true equality for gays and lesbians. While Sullivan's analysis tends toward the philosophical and the conciliatory, Vaid calls for a return to passionate grass-roots activism. Recommended for most collections.-Jeffery Ingram, Newport P.L., Ore.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385472999
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/28/1996
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 1,009,820
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.13 (d)

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