A substantive look at a key moment in the history of the LGBTQIAP–equality movement.
Pitman provides readers with a well-rounded look at gay and lesbian—and to a somewhat lesser extent transgender—life in America in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s. She smartly uses the introduction to remind young readers that the term “LGBTQ+” is an evolving one and notes that source materials through the account may use various versions of the initialism. Organized around “objects” (often photos, sometimes cultural touchstones), the book begins with the construction of what would become the Stonewall and briefly touches on gay and lesbian life pre-1940s, but the story begins to delve deeply into the movement in the 1950s. Along the way, Pitman deftly weaves in social issues of the time—women’s liberation, the Black Power movement, El Movimiento, etc.—along with frank discussions of the ideological weaknesses sometimes found in the gay community: racism, transphobia, internalized homophobia, and misogyny. The story provides a balanced if somewhat scattered account. For all it does well, Pitman’s narrative has a tendency to meander, and some parts feel repetitive. The backmatter alone is almost worth the purchase price, as it includes a timeline, footnotes, and a healthy bibliography. The book makes good use of images throughout the text, but the absence of captions for some photos is an irritant, and image credits do not take up the slack.
A user-friendly look at a watershed event and its context. (index) (Nonfiction. 11-14)