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Queer Ideas/Queer Action Series

Found in Nonfiction
The Queer Ideas/Queer Action series from Beacon Press is a unique series of books that address the important intellectual questions facing the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender movement today and serve as hands-on guides for living in our increasingly complicated political and social worlds.

Out Law by Lisa Keen
Gaga Feminism by J. Jack Halberstam
Family Pride by Michael Shelton

Queer Ideas/Queer Action Series : Titles in Order

Book 8
An invaluable portrait and roadmap on how to thrive as an LGBT family
 
The overwhelming success of Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” YouTube project aimed at queer youth highlighted that despite the progress made in gay rights, LGBT people are still at high risk of being victimized. While the national focus remains on the mistreatment of gay people in schools, the reality is that LGBT families also face hostility in various settings—professional, recreational, and social. This is especially evident in rural communities, where the majority of LGBT families live, isolated from support networks more commonly found in urban spaces.
 
Family Pride is the first book for queer parents, families, and allies that emphasizes community safety. Drawing on his years as a dedicated community activist and on the experiences of LGBT parents, Michael Shelton offers concrete strategies that LGBT families can use to intervene in and resolve difficult community issues, teach their children resiliency skills, and find safe and respectful programs for their children.
Book 7
A roadmap to sex and gender for the twenty-first century, using Lady Gaga as a symbol for a new kind of feminism

Why are so many women single, so many men resisting marriage, and so many gays and lesbians having babies? Gaga Feminism answers these questions while attempting to make sense of the tectonic cultural shifts that have transformed gender and sexual politics in the last few decades. This colorful landscape is populated by symbols and phenomena as varied as pregnant men, late-life lesbians, SpongeBob SquarePants, and queer families. So how do we understand the dissonance between these real experiences and the heteronormative narratives that dominate popular media? We can embrace the chaos! With equal parts edge and wit, J. Jack Halberstam reveals how these symbolic ruptures open a critical space to embrace new ways of conceptualizing sex, love, and marriage.
 
Using Lady Gaga as a symbol for a new era, Halberstam deftly unpacks what the pop superstar symbolizes, to whom and why. The result is a provocative manifesto of creative mayhem—a roadmapto sex and gender for the twenty-first century—that holds Lady Gaga as an exemplar of a new kind of feminism that privileges gender and sexual fluidity.
 
Part handbook, part guidebook, and part sex manual, Gaga Feminism is the first book to take seriously the collapse of heterosexuality and find signposts in the wreckage to a new and different way of doing sex and gender.
Book 6
A passionate argument for LGBTQ equality within religious communities—“a book for our times and a book for the ages” (EDGE)

The myth that the Bible forbids homosexuality—the myth of “God versus Gay”—is behind some of the most divisive and painful conflicts of our day. In this provocative and game-changing book, scholar and activist Jay Michaelson shows that the Bible does not prohibit same-sex intimacy but does quite the opposite. In fact, the vast majority of the Bible’s teachings support the full equality and dignity of LGBTQ people, from the first flaw it finds in creation (“It is not good for a person to be alone”) to the way religious communities grow through reflection and conscience. Michaelson argues passionately for equality—not despite religion, but because of it.

With close readings of the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, the latest data on the science of sexual orientation, and a sympathetic, accessible, and ecumenical approach to religious faith, Michaelson makes the case that sexual diversity is part of the beauty of nature. The recognition of same-sex families will strengthen, not threaten, the values religious people hold dear. Whatever your views on religion and sexual diversity, God vs. Gay is a plea for a more compassionate, informed conversation—and a first step toward creating one.
Book 5
A groundbreaking work that turns a “queer eye” on the criminal legal system
 
Drawing on years of research, activism, and legal advocacy, Queer (In)Justice is a searing examination of queer experiences as “suspects,” defendants, prisoners, and survivors of crime. The authors unpack queer criminal archetypes—from “gleeful gay killers” and “lethal lesbians” to “disease spreaders” and “deceptive gender benders”—to illustrate the punishment of queer expression, regardless of whether a crime was ever committed. Tracing stories from the streets to the bench to behind prison bars, the authors prove that the policing of sex and gender both bolsters and reinforces racial and gender inequalities.
 
An eye-opening study of LGBTQ rights and equality, Queer (In)Justice illuminates and challenges the many ways in which queer lives are criminalized, policed, and punished.
Book 4
Engaging and largely untold, From the Closet to the Courtroom explores how five pivotal lawsuits have altered LGBT history. Beginning each case narrative at the center—with the litigants and their lawyers—law professor Carlos Ball follows the stories behind each crucial lawsuit. He traces the parties from their communities to the courtroom, while deftly weaving in rich sociohistorical context and analyzing the lasting legal and political impact of each judicial outcome.
Book 3
Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage reframes the family-rights debate by arguing that marriage shouldn’t bestow special legal privileges upon couples because people, both heterosexual and LGBT, live in a variety of relationships-including unmarried couples of any sexual orientation, single-parent households, extended biological family units, and myriad other familial configurations. Nancy D. Polikoff shows how the law can value all families, and why it must.
Book 2
The enormous advances of the civil rights movement have made it easier for LGBT youth to be “out,” yet their increased visibility has led to myriad legal issues involving such critical matters as freedom of expression, sexual harassment, self-chosen medical care, and even their right to privacy within their own families.

In this accessible guide, Lisa Keen illustrates how some laws limit the rights of LGBT youth and others protect them. Out Law lays out the basics about federal, state, and local laws that frequently impact LGBT youth and explains how legal authority and responsibility is often vested in local officials, such as school principals.

Keen explains how laws treating LGBT people differently came to exist, evolved over time, and are subject to significant changes even today. Out Law discusses the shifting legal terrain for such issues as when schools can censor messages on T-shirts or library computer research into LGBT-related Web sites. It gives youth tips on how to document efforts to curb their rights and where to turn for help in protecting those rights.
Book 1
Come Out and Win will educate, engage, and agitate LGBT and straight activists to become involved in the political movement to win full equality under the law and sexual/gender freedom. Spurring a new generation of activists to positive social action, it not only tells the history of gay liberation but, crucially, offers guidance and practical advice for building organizations and taking concrete action to eradicate homophobia.

From starting a gay-straight alliance in your high school to the most effective way to lobby your state representative face-to-face, Come Out and Win explains how to organize and become politically engaged in a clear and user-friendly manner. Other issues explored include youth organizing, marriage equality, legislative change, public relations, having a voice in the mainstream press, putting on a street demonstration, and political organizing from local to national levels. Grappling with the complexity of grassroots political interactions, Come Out and Win suggests ways for LGBT communities to form coalitions with women’s organizations, communities of color, and faith communities.

Between the Lines (Michigan) praises Beacon Press for launching the Queer Action Series:

“Interestingly, Beacon is launching the series at the same time many mass market publishing houses are moving away from LBGT genre books. The national InsightOut Book club has been cancelled and recent shuffling in the industry has left many editors of LBGT genre books looking for work.”

“‘Beacon actually has, as a part of their mission, to work on social justice issues. So this very much fits into what Beacon is mandated to do. They have prioritized this,’ Bronski said.”

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