Marc Stein publishes new book: Rethinking the Gay and Lesbian Movement

The Department of History congratulates Marc Stein on the publication of his latest book: Rethinking the Gay and Lesbian Movement (240 pp.) has just been published by Routledge. For further details, see

Rethinking the Gay and Lesbian Movement provides a new narrative history of U.S. gay and lesbian activism, drawing on primary research in the field and the best scholarship on the history of the gay and lesbian movement.

Focusing on four decades of social, cultural, and political change in the second half of the twentieth century, Stein examines the changing agendas, beliefs, strategies, and vocabularies of a movement that encompassed diverse actions, campaigns, ideologies, and organizations. From the homophile activism of the 1950s and 1960s, through the rise of gay liberation and lesbian feminism in the 1970s, to the multicultural and AIDS activist movements of the 1980s, Rethinking the Gay and Lesbian Movement provides a strong foundation for understanding gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer politics today.

Rethinking the Gay and Lesbian Movement provides a short, accessible overview of an important and transformational struggle for social change, highlighting key individuals and events, influential groups and networks, strong alliances and coalitions, difficult challenges and obstacles, major successes and failures, and the movement’s lasting effects on the country. This volume will be valued by everyone interested in gay and lesbian history, the history of social movements, and the history of the United States.

It forms part of the series American Social and Political Movements of the Twentieth Century, a collection of works by top historians that introduces students to the myriad movements that came together in the United States during the twentieth century to expand democracy, reshape the political economy, and increase social justice. Each book provides a concise, synthetic overview and reassessment of one movement’s origins and goals, its leading and grassroots figures, its actions and ideas, its serious missteps, and its most important accomplishments. Each book provides students with the opportunity to learn about an American social and political movement through a short, logically laid out, analytically sophisticated, and easy to follow book.

Marc has provided some comments received by the Press on the volume: “An ideal entry point for understanding the gay and lesbian rights movement. A treasure trove for students and scholars alike.” Eric Marcus, author of Making Gay History and What If Someone I Know is Gay?

“Marc Stein promises much and delivers all: a concise yet inclusive look at the crucial forty years of the U. S. gay and lesbian movement. In a clear narrative, this overdue treatment reminds us of the varieties of activism and the important link between collective organizing and societal change.”
Vicki Eaklor, author of Queer America: A GLBT History of the Twentieth Century

“Finally, an accessible, comprehensive, interpretive synthesis of the long history of the gay and lesbian movement in the United States. Marc Stein mobilizes his wide knowledge, analytical flair, and keen eye for diversity to tell both a sobering and inspiring story of how we have gotten to where we are. No one committed to social justice for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people can afford to ignore Rethinking the Gay and Lesbian Movement.” Leila Rupp, author of A Desired Past: A Short History of Same-Sex Love in America.