“The Children of Harvey Milk: How LGBTQ Politicians Changed the World” by Andrew Reynolds— Coming Forward for Equal Rights

Reynolds, Andrew. “The Children of Harvey Milk: How LGBTQ Politicians Changed the World”, Oxford University Press, 2018.

Coming Forward for Equal Rights

Amos Lassen

“The Children of Harvey Milk” is the story of brave men and women around the world who came forward to make their voices heard during the struggle for equal rights. We meet LGBTQ icons from America to Ireland, Britain to New Zealand. Reynolds carefully documents their successes and failures, their stories of acceptance and their heartbreaking stories of ostracism. We see the ways in which individuals can change the views and voting behaviors of those around them. Additionally, we get vignettes of LGBTQ leaders in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean who continue to fight for equality in spite of threats, violence, and homophobia.

The road to gay rights has been a rocky journey and for anyone who is interested in how we got what we have today and social change, this book is a must read. Writer Andrew Reynolds shows us the universal, worldwide breadth and depth of the movement for equal rights among LGBTQ people. We have and have had courageous leaders in countries that we might never imagine gay people coming fort or living in. These heroes assert their identities and claim their citizenships. We see hope at a time when democracy itself faces world-wide threats.

We see the struggles-and failures-of the LGBTQ political movement worldwide and we realize that this is the story of our time. Harvey Milk began the story, and now others carry it around the globe. If we are to move forward, we must elect LGBTQ people to office. Reynolds inspires and empowers us as he takes us through the history of LGBTQ rights and through the eyes of those who dreamed big and who acted on those dreams.

We have made enormous progress and LGBTQ political power is critical to advancing equality for our community.  In looking at the careers (and self-reflections) of politicians who devoted themselves to advance LGBT rights from around the world, we see that idea that the struggle for LGBT rights faces universal as well as local and context-specific challenges. Gay rights don’t come into being by themselves. They require courage, astuteness and perseverance. They also require dedicated politicians.

Reynolds says that what is needed for global social change from political participation to the representation of LGBTI people. The stories he shares inspire and encourage. We see a community that comes together for what they believe in and this is a call for queer people to resist, reform-and become involved in politics. The book’s true heart and soul are the stories of LGBTQ politicians who have transformed our world in the ten years since Milk was killed.

The personal narratives show us the mostly unseen experiences of these important facilitators of change. These are people who have often worked within and benefited from the intense struggle for the expansion of human rights.  

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