Gay and Lesbian Americans and Political Participation

A Reference Handbook

by Raymond A. Smith and Donald P. Haider-Markel


There is a new voters' bloc in America: lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. This guide provides a systematic empirical survey of the phenomenon, explains its origins and growth, and puts it in context.

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Cover image for Gay and Lesbian Americans and Political Participation

May 2002


Pages 339
Volumes 1
Size 6x9
Topics LGBTQ Studies
  • Hardcover



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    Hardcover: £58.00/63,00€/A$97.00

A groundbreaking volume surveying the contributions that gay and lesbian Americans have made to the democratic process.

In 1969, when lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people first participated as a group in the political process, they faced an imposing array of obstacles. Everything from personal rejection and violence; state anti-sodomy laws; exclusion from the armed forces; and legal discrimination in employment, housing, credit, consumer service, and public accommodations.

Nevertheless, by the end of the millennium, LGBT people had transformed themselves into a well-organized and begrudgingly respected political force. In the process, they dramatically changed laws and attitudes across the nation. This new volume tells the story of the rapid growth and remarkable successes of the LGBT movement—a record that makes it one of the most successful social movements in U.S. history and, ironically, the least studied.


  • A collection of relevant documents includes crucial court decisions, executive orders, declarations of principles, and the coming out statement of U.S. Representative Jim Kolbe
  • A resource list provides contact information for 80 national, state, and local organizations, and an annotated bibliography evaluates sources for further information


  • Offers first-of-its-kind detailed coverage of protest politics, which have been the driving force of the gay and lesbian rights movement
  • Provides balanced material on a volatile social topic that is here to stay
Author Info

Raymond A. Smith is adjunct assistant professor at Hunter College, City University of New York, New York, NY. He is the editor of the award-winning Encyclopedia of AIDS.

Donald P. Haider-Markel is assistant professor of political science and director of the Survey Research Center of the Policy Reserarch Institute at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS.



"This work, ambitious in scope, fulfills the promise of its title . . . Extensive references for each chapter, an annotated bibliography, a dictionary of key people, laws, and terms, a resource directory, and a chronology make the book suitable for undergraduate libraries with strong LGBT or political science collections. It fits either circulating or reference collections of medium-sized or large academic libraries and is appropriate for large public libraries with LGBT communities."Choice

"The book is well written and provides a great deal of useful information for those interested in the political aspects of gaining rights for LGBT individuals and groups. It is recommended for high school, college, and public libraries."American Reference Books Annual

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