The Children of Harvey Milk

Andrew Reynolds

The Children of Harvey Milk

Andrew Reynolds






31 Oct 2018




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$46.99 NZD

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The gay rights movement has achieved social transformation at a dizzying pace, upending conventional views on sex, love, marriage, the family, and equality itself. While most scholars understand the movement as a broad-based social movement, Andrew Reynolds argues that the most important catalyst of gay rights is often overlooked: individuals. Specifically, openly gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender politicians had a critical role in bringing about a more positive attitude towards homosexuality and gender identity, both among other politicians and the general public. Just last year, a transgender candidate, Danica Roem, won a highly contested race in Virginia by concentrating on traffic issues. That would have been unthinkable even a few years ago.

The Children of Harvey Milk tells the epic stories of courageous men and women around the world who came forward to make their voices heard during the struggle for equal rights. Based on in-depth interviews with more than seventy elected officials and high profile political candidates, Reynolds traces major breakthroughs for the gay rights movement through the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender politicians who advanced the cause. The book documents their successes and failures, heartwarming stories of acceptance and heartbreaking stories of ostracism, demonstrating the ways in which an individual can change the views and voting behaviours of those around him. Reynolds also includes rare vignettes of LGBT leaders in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean who continue to fight for gay rights in spite of threats, violence, and homophobia.  

Blending personal stories with historical data, Reynolds offers both a compelling portrait of LGBT politicians and a powerful explanation of the importance of identity politics in the success of the gay rights movement. A touchstone narrative of the tumultuous journey towards gay rights, The Children of Harvey Milk is a must-read for anyone with an interest in LGBT rights, social movements, and social change.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. A Maori Love Song

Chapter 2. Being There

Chapter 3. On the Right Side of History

Chapter 4. Making a Difference, Not Making History

Chapter 5. Comfort Zones and Danger Zones

Chapter 6. The State of the (Same-Sex) Union

Chapter 7. Be Gay, Just Not Queer

Conclusion. The Future of Gay Politics


Andrew Reynolds, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of North Carolina

Andrew Reynolds is a Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Director of the UNC LGBTQ Representation and Rights Research Initiative. His research and teaching focus on democratisation, constitutional design and electoral politics. He has been a consultant on issues of electoral and constitutional design in over 25 countries: including Afghanistan, Burma, Egypt, Indonesia, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Philippines, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Ukraine, Yemen, and Zimbabwe. He has published twelve books, 50 journal articles and book chapters, and ten policy reports on Africa, Asia, the Arab world, gender, democratisation, and LGBTQ politics. This work has been translated into ten languages.


"In a labor of impressive scholarship, Reynolds ... demonstrates that LGBTQ individuals serving openly in the political realm have been the major instigators of this change. He makes his point in a collection of historical, exciting, and moving stories ... Highly recommended." -- J. Goins, CHOICE

"A unique look at how politics affect the LGBTQ community and the LGBTQ politicians that help bring about the changes needed for the community. Reynolds does an excellent job at not only looking at past politicians, but current game changes as well" -- The Over the Rainbow Booklist committee of the American Library Associationâs GLBT Round Table

"In this remarkable book, Andrew Reynolds shows us the global breadth and depth of the movement for equal rights among LGBTQ people. Reynolds shows us that the movement is world-wide, producing courageous leaders in countries that we might never imagine gay people coming forth, asserting their identities, and claiming their citizenship. This is a work of extraordinary scholarship and it provides us with a bracing dose of hope at a time when democracy itself is facing world-wide threats." - Kenneth Sherrill, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Hunter College, New York

"Andrew Reynolds' stunning book shows us the struggles-and failures-of the LGBTQ political movement worldwide, from Africa to the Caribbean. This is the story of our times: begun by Harvey Milk, and now carried on around the globe. Gripping, sobering, and inspiring."- Jennifer Finney Boylan, author of She's Not There and Long Black Veil

"Electing LGBTQ people to office is critical to moving equality forward. In The Children of Harvey Milk, Reynolds inspires and empowers as he traces the history of LGBTQ rights through the eyes of those who dreamed big, shattered barriers, and helped advance equality in the halls of parliaments and legislatures around the world." -Chad Griffin, President, Human Rights Campaign

"Andrew Reynolds captures the enormous progress LGBTQ people and candidates have made since Harvey Milk's run for office more than four decades ago - and demonstrates that LGBTQ political power is critical to advancing equality for our community. Few can match Reynolds' exhaustively researched LGBTQ political knowledge, and The Children of Harvey Milk will certainly become a key reference on the history of our movement." -Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund

"This is political biography at its best. By reviewing the careers (and self-reflections) of politicians who devoted themselves to advance LGBT rights from around the world, Reynolds illustrates the idea that the struggle for LGBT rights faces universal as well context-specific challenges. Reynolds's central claim is that gay rights don't emerge by themselves. They require the courage, astuteness, and perseverance of dedicated politicians to make them happen." -Javier Corrales, Professor of Political Science, Amherst College

"A must read in an era of relativism and complacency. In The Children of Harvey Milk, Andrew Reynolds reveals the political heroes and the personal journeys who contributed and are contributing to a radical shift in public attitudes on LGBT rights in parts of the World. Reynolds sensibly paints the way LGBTI leaders excel in turning their personal hardship in the precursor to beauty and triumph. More importantly, Children of Harvey Milk identifies ingredients of a recipe for a much-needed global social change starting with political participation and representation of LGBTI people." -Fabrice Houdart, Human Rights Officer at the United Nations Human Rights Office

"Andrew Reynolds tells inspiring stories of people-some familiar, some not-who were courageous enough to say 'this is who I am' and fight for a place at the table. They helped bring a community out of the shadows and into the light in ways both large and small." -Jim Obergefell, co-author of Love Wins and named plaintiff of the marriage equality decision Obergefell v. Hodges

"Andrew Reynolds' The Children of Harvey Milk is a compelling work of LGBTQ history and at the same time a clarion call for queer people to resist, to reform-and to get involved in politics. The book's true heart and soul are the stories of the army of LGBTQ politicians who have transformed our world in the decade's since Milks' assassination. A must read for anyone interested in how social change happens." -Steven Petrow, Columnist, USA Today, and Former President, National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association

"It takes many players, many methodologies, and many contributions to achieve transformative change such as our winning the freedom to marry in 25 countries so far (up from zero when we started). By collecting for the first time such a broad sweep of the emerging group of openly LGBT elected officials, Andrew Reynolds gives us their perspectives on the ways in which they make it into office, figure out how to use their voices and votes, work with activists (and sometimes butt heads with them), influence their colleagues, balance the pressures and expectations on them (both typical and singular), represent their own communities, find the courage to lead, and, sometimes, prove pivotal." -Evan Wolfson, Founder, Freedom to Marry

"Andrew Reynolds tells moving stories of politicians whose openness about being LGBT is reshaping laws and policies. Some led us out of the closet, while others had to be led-but all have helped create a more welcoming world. Reynolds links the stories with social science research to create a convincing picture of the past and the future of change." -M. V. Lee Badgett, Prof of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst

"Mandatory reading for all of those interested social justice movements, The Children of Harvey Milk is smart, educational, and entertaining. Reynolds draws his readers in by humanizing a movement that is all but exclusively politicized. Not only does this book fill a giant gap in the academic literature, it also manages to remain engaging and accessible to both academic and non academic readers alike. I can't recommend it any more highly.>" -Melody Moezzi, Author of Haldol and Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life and War on Error: Real Stories of American Muslims

"Reynolds' work takes us on a global tour of key political battles for LGBTQ rights while reading like a novel. He skillfully weaves in moving stories -- most not widely known -- that brightly illustrate that persuasion in the halls of power has been often quite personal." -Ken Smith, National Co-Chair, Carolina Pride Alum Network

"Reynolds's protagonists are at the vanguard of political representation and rights for LGBT people in several established democracies. The personal narratives that drive the telling of their stories illuminates the mostly unseen experiences of these important facilitators of change-figures who have often worked within and benefited from the intense struggle of an enduring transnational movement. An inspiring read and hopeful account of the expansion of human rights, this book is helpful at a time when such new rights face heightened global resistance." - Phillip Ayoub, Professor of Diplomacy and World Affairs at Occidental College and author of When States Come Out: Europe's Sexual Minorities and the Politics of Visibility

"Illuminating political and social history."--Kirkus

"Refreshingly ambitious in its global scope... an engrossing set of journalistic pieces." --Gay & Lesbian Review

"The Children of Harvey Milk is a vital almost up to the minute barometer of where LGBTQ civil and human rights stand."--New York Journal of Books

"The book's group portrait of LGBTQ leaders who have labored for change is a reminder that representation matters. A scholarly analysis that will also appeal to politically engaged generalist readers."--Library Journal

"Here, readers will easily learn, and what they learn is absolutely inspiring. For political animals, this book is an easy choice. For the slightly clueless, it's a know-your-history book that doesn't dwell strictly domestically. For a casual reader, it may be challenging but in the end, The Children of Harvey Milk could be the most informative book you'll lay eyes on."--Terri Schlichenmeyer, BookwormSez column

"Offering a much-needed survey of the current LGBTQ political landscape, Reynolds tells the stories of the politicians and activists who have come after Milk, the first openly gay person elected to office in California... Demonstrating a real gift for storytelling, he allows the personal as well as the professional aspects of his subjects' lives to shine through." --Times Higher Education

"Reynolds has penned a book that will inspire the reader and give hope for future generations."--The Advocate