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21st Century Gay
by John Malone
ISBN 0871319497 / 9780871319494 / 0-87131-949-7
Publisher M. Evans & Company
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John Malone's excellent state-of-the-union address on the status of gay rights--such as domestic partners benefits, civil unions, and gays in the military--is a readable and well-researched addition to gay studies and a fine primer on social change. While neither unreasonably pessimist nor giddily congratulatory, Malone describes the strides made in gay civil rights in the past 40 years and predicts which issues are more likely to go forward--the acceptance of same-sex adoption, say--and which, like gay marriage or military service, will remain sticky in the opening decades of the new century. He is alert to the differences between local, state, and federal policymaking, and sensitive to how slowly the "basic world view" of Americans can change, even when laws or company policies have been updated. With attention to the diverse approaches of gay and lesbian activists (provocateurs like Larry Kramer versus cautious incrementalists like Barney Frank), Malone describes the tensions within the gay community, as well as the continuing battles it faces from the religious right and the Republican mainstream. 21st Century Gay is vital reading for anyone weary of the closet or the margins. --Regina Marler [via]