By Martin Duberman
Edited By Richard Schneider Jr.
THE TITLE OF THIS COLLECTION, The Line of Dissent, suggests a common denom- inator for a truly diverse group of individuals—beyond the fact that all were amazing people who lived extraordinary lives. They were trailblazers who forged new ways of thinking or being, and all made major contributions to LGBT life and culture.
These essays (with a few exceptions) first appeared in The G&LR, a national, bimonthly magazine. The first to be published, in 1997, was an in-depth profile of Edward Sagarin, author of The Homosexual in America (1951), dubbed “the Father of the Homophile Movement.” The latest, from 2022, provides new insights into the work of Alfred Kinsey, who pretty much invented the field of sex research, and his acolyte C.A. Tripp, author of the explosive 1975 book The Homosexual Matrix.
Between these scholarly bookends are activists, poets, artists, and daredevils. A three-part series on impresario Lincoln Kirstein reveals how he brought the art of ballet to America. Several profiles can be found at the intersection of the LGBT struggle and leftist politics: activist Barbara Deming and her strategy of “direct action nonviolence”; Sylvia Rivera, who sparked the transgender revolution decades before her time; and bisexual Andrea Dworkin, the radical second wave feminist. Another group includes visual artists such as painter Robert Rauschenberg and designer Ed Wormley, and poets such as W. H. Auden and Black activist Essex Hemphill. There’s even a chapter on lesbian speedboat racer Joe Carstairs, who burst all kinds of barri- ers when she won major trophies in the 1920s.
In short, it’s a wild ride covering a breathtaking swath of LGBT history, all brought to you in Martin Duberman’s informative, easygoing style of writing.