LGBTQ Americans in the U.S. Political System

An Encyclopedia of Activists, Voters, Candidates, and Officeholders

by Jason Pierceson, Editor


The number of LGBTQ Americans holding elected office in the United States has steadily risen, from 41 in 1991 to about 450 in 2017.

Print Flyer
Cover image for LGBTQ Americans in the U.S. Political System

November 2019


Pages 599
Volumes 2
Size 7x10
Topics Politics, Law, and Government/Human Rights and Civil Liberties
  LGBTQ Studies

This comprehensive sourcebook covers the evolution of LGBTQ engagement in American politics, from the emergence of gay rights as a political issue in the early 1970s to the present day, when LGBTQ issues occupy a prominent place in politics.

This work provides a broad and authoritative survey of the ways in which gay Americans are influencing the tenor and trajectory of U.S. politics at the local, state, and national levels. An encyclopedic section offers thorough coverage of all of the individuals, organizations, cultural forces, political issues, and legal decisions that have combined to elevate the role of LGBTQ people at the ballot box, on the campaign trail, in Washington, and in mayors' offices, city councils, and school boards across the country.

Complementing reference entries are in-depth essays on the rising prominence of gay Americans as voters, candidates, public officials, lawmakers, and opinion leaders, providing further context for understanding their impact on modern U.S. political processes and institutions from the perspective of liberals and conservatives alike. Finally, the set includes a collection of important primary source documents that illuminate landmark events, examine gay policy priorities and preferences, and showcase the beliefs and experiences of prominent LGBTQ Americans in the world of politics.


  • Provides historical essays detailing the evolution of LGBTQ Americans in U.S. politics as voters, candidates, and officeholders
  • Offers more than 250 reference entries of individuals, organizations, cultural forces, political issues, and legal decisions
  • Presents primary documents of additional insight into major events, issues, and individuals associated with LGBTQ politics
  • Features a chronology of events for at-a-glance coverage of the most important events in LGBTQ history
  • Includes an appendix of LGBTQ organizations involved in politics
Author Info

Jason Pierceson, PhD, is professor of political science at the University of Illinois Springfield. His teaching and research focuses on public law, the legal and political issues relating to sexuality and gender, and political theory. He is author or coauthor of several books on same-sex marriage and sexuality and politics, including Same-Sex Marriage in the Americas, Courts, Liberalism and Rights: Gay Law and Politics in the United States and Canada, Same-Sex Marriage in the United States: The Road to the Supreme Court, and Sexual Minorities in Politics: An Introduction.

Look Inside

Other Titles of Interest

LGBT Youth Issues Today cover imageSame-Sex Marriage cover imageSex and Gender cover image
Proud Heritage cover imageCovering American Politics in the 21st Century cover imageAmerican Political Culture cover image

Product Search

Product Search

Publication Year



Need Help? Try our Search Tips