LGBTQ Americans in the U.S. Political System
An Encyclopedia of Activists, Voters, Candidates, and Officeholders
by Jason Pierceson, Editor
November 2019, 599pp, 7x10
2 volumes, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-5276-3
$204, £152, 170€, A292
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-5277-0
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

The number of LGBTQ Americans holding elected office in the United States has steadily risen, from 41 in 1991 to more than 800 in 2020.

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
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.


2020 Choice Outstanding Academic Title—Choice, December 1, 2020


"Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; professionals."—Choice, June 1, 2020
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