to gay marriage, from lesbian senators to out gay Marines, we have undoubtedly experienced a seismic shift in attitudes about gays in American politics and culture. Our reigning national story is that a new era of rainbow acceptance is at hand. But dig a bit deeper, and this seemingly brave new gay world is disappointing. For all of the undeniable changes,
the plea for tolerance has sabotaged the full integration of gays into American life. Same-sex marriage is unrecognized and unpopular in the vast majority of states, hate crimes proliferate, and even in the much vaunted “gay friendly”
world of Hollywood and celebrity culture, precious few stars are openly gay.
Tolerance Trap, Suzanna Walters takes on received wisdom about gay identities and gay rights, arguing that we are not “almost there,” but on the contrary have settled for a watered-down goal of tolerance and acceptance rather than a robust claim to full civil rights. After all, we tolerate unpleasant realities: medicine with strong side effects, a long commute, an annoying relative. Drawing on a vast array of sources and sharing her own personal journey, Walters shows how the low bar of tolerance demeans rather than ennobles both gays and straights alike. Her fascinating examination covers the gains in political inclusion and the persistence of anti-gay laws, the easy-out sexual freedom of queer youth and the suicides and murders of those in decidedly intolerant environments. She challenges both “born that way” storylines that root civil rights in biology,
and “god made me that way” arguments that similarly situate sexuality as innate and impervious to decisions we make to shape it. A sharp and provocative cultural critique, this book deftly argues that a too-soon declaration of victory short-circuits full equality and deprives us all of the transformative possibilities of full integration. Tolerance is not the end goal, but a dead end. In The Tolerance
Trap, Walters presents a complicated snapshot of a world-shifting moment in
American history—one that is both a wake-up call and a call to arms for anyone seeking true equality.
About the Author
Director of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Professor of Sociology at
Northeastern University. She is the author of several books, including All the Rage: The Story of Gay Visibility in America and Material Girls: Making Sense of Feminist Cultural Theory.
Table of Contents
Introduction: That’s So Gay! (Or Is It?)
PART I: THE END OF COMING OUT?
1. Once upon a Time
2. Coming Out Is So Last Year
3. The Closet 2.0
PART II: DO THESE GENES MAKE ME LOOK GAY?
4. The Medical Gayz
5. Dangerous Liaisons
6. You Say Nature, I Say Nurture . . .
Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off
PART III: CITIZEN GAY
7. Homeland Insecurities
8. Better Put a Ring on It
9. In the Family Way
PART IV: ESCAPE FROM THE TOLERANCE TRAP
10. Is That All There Is?
11. When the Rainbow Isn’t Enough
About the Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
THE TOLERANCE TRAP HOW GOD, GENES, AND GOOD INTENTIONS ARE SABOTAGING GAY EQUALITY by Suzanna Danuta Walters I Give the book 5 out of 5 stars. A Must Read for the LGBTQ community. Straight people should also read the book, hopefully they can tolerate the mirror being held up to them and with some luck even learn something from it. Suzanna clearly makes her point and the point will be very challenging for all straight people and even a few gay people. To be tolerated is better then abused, though tolerated LGBTQ people are not truly equal or “normal” yet. We are not free, respected or equal, we must remain fully cognizant of THE TOLERANCE TRAP, if we become complacent with our being tolerated perpetual outsiders, we will never become full equal citizens in a straight dominated world.