With photographs and sidebars, a narrative account of the United States LGBT movement's highlights in the 20th and 21st centuries.
LGBT history before the 20th century gets only a chapterlong summary, but its powerful message shines through: "For as long as there has been human civilization, LGBT people have played a part." Subsequent chapters chronicle historical and cultural events as well as notable LGBT people, from poet Langston Hughes to "transgender superstar" Christine Jorgensen to sharp-tongued AIDS activist Larry Kramer. This is the story of people more than movements; many segments begin with an individual story ("In the fall of 1995 Kelli Peterson, a senior at East High School in Salt Lake City, turned in her paperwork for a new afterschool club: the Gay-Straight Alliance”). The portrayal of the movement as a series of personal stories creates lively and engaging prose, though it sometimes leads to oversimplification. Controversies within the movement are presented as part of the narrative, but readers are not encouraged to think critically about which side they support. Activities presented in sidebars sometimes seem thought-provoking—asking an adult about their experience with boycotts—and sometimes less so—building a "teleidoscope," a sort of kaleidoscope invented by the Mattachine Society's founder.
Overall, informative and appealingly told. (resource list, endnotes, index) (Nonfiction. 12-18)