The gay rights movement has achieved social transformation at a dizzying pace, upending conventional views on sex, love, marriage, the family, and equality itself. While most scholars understand the movement as a broad-based social movement, Andrew Reynolds argues that the most important catalyst of gay rights is often overlooked: individuals.
Openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender politicians had a critical role in bringing about a more positive attitude towards homosexuality and gender identity, both among other politicians and the general public. Based on in-depth interviews with more than one hundred elected officials and high profile political candidates, Reynolds traces major breakthroughs for the gay rights movement through the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender politicians who advanced the cause. His forthcoming book documents their successes and failures, heartwarming stories of acceptance and heartbreaking stories of ostracism, demonstrating the ways in which an individual can change the views and voting behaviors of those around him. Reynolds also includes rare vignettes of LGBT leaders in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean who continue to fight for gay rights in spite of threats, violence, and homophobia.
Andrew Reynolds is a Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He founded and directs the UNC LGBTQ Representation and Rights Research Initiative, the leading global think tank focused on LGBTQ politics. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian, New Statesman, and widely online. His twelve non-fiction books range from African politics to the Arab Spring, elections to the future of democracy. For twenty-five years he has been an advisor on democratic design in the world’s most dangerous places. From South Africa to Somalia, Afghanistan to Libya, Burma to Ukraine, and many others.
The event is free and open to the public. Registration is not required. The event will be followed by drinks.