Lowering Our Sights

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The Tolerance TrapThe Tolerance Trap: How God, Genes, and Good Inten-tions are Sabotaging Gay Equality
by Suzanna Danuta Walters
NYU Press.  343 pages, $29.95

 

IF WE TAKE a long view of the trajectory of the American gay rights movement, there is something peculiar about where it seems to have taken us. In 1969, the Gay Liberation Front announced: “We are a revolutionary group of men and women formed with the realization that complete sexual liberation for all people cannot come about unless existing social institutions are abolished. We reject society’s attempt to impose sexual roles and definitions on our nature. … We are women and men who, from the time of our earliest memories, have been in revolt against the sex-role structure and the nuclear family.” In striking contrast, today’s gay rights movement is celebrating recent legal victories, notably the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, in its campaign to legalize marriage for same-sex couples.

Is this progress? Sociologist Suzanna Danuta Walters concedes that it is—kind of. In her new book, The Tolerance Trap, she argues that the national salience of GLBT discourse in the media and the movement’s impressive achievements in recent years have come at a cost.

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Marcus Aurin is a doctoral candidate living in Boston.

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