Emerita prof pens groundbreaking book on gay civil rights

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Emerita prof pens groundbreaking book on gay civil rights

A new nonfiction book by author Dr. Lillian Faderman, a professor emerita of English at Fresno State, provides a definitive account of the fight for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) civil rights.

In “The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle,” Faderman details many years of injustices, the early battles, the heartbreaking defeats and the victories beyond the dreams of dozens of gay rights pioneers. Publisher Simon & Schuster, which released the book Sept. 8, calls Faderman’s new work the most complete and authoritative book of its kind.

“The Gay Revolution” begins with the 1950s, when law classified gays, lesbians and transgender people as criminals. Psychiatrists saw them as mentally ill, churches believed them to be sinners and society victimized them. Against this backdrop, some began to pave the way for the revolutionary changes of the 1960s and beyond.

Faderman describes the protests in the 1960s and the counter reaction of the 1970s and early 1980s. She salutes the decimated but united gay community during the AIDS epidemic and brings the saga through the hard-fought battles of the 1990s and the early 21st century to today, including the recent Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

The book features interviews with more than 150 people — including Cleve Jones, friend of Harvey Milk and founder of the AIDS Memorial Quilt project; Brigadier General Tammy Smith, the first openly lesbian general in U.S. military history; and retired U.S. Congressman Barney Frank, one of the most prominent gay politicians.

Faderman, an educator and writer, taught English and creative writing at Fresno State from 1967 to 2007. She co-founded the Women’s Studies Program in 1971, and she was named the University’s outstanding professor in 1982 and 2001

She has written and co-edited more than a dozen books, many of which are widely translated academic best sellers that broke new ground in the areas of sexuality and gender, and she is recognized worldwide as a pioneer in gay and lesbian literature and history.

Her 1981 book “Surpassing the Love of Men” is considered the first serious, full-length historical study of lesbians. Her 1991 book “Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers” is considered a classic of LGBTQ history. Both titles were named notable books of the year by The New York Times.

Faderman is the author of two memoirs, most recently “My Mother’s Wars” in 2013. She co-edited the influential 1975 anthology “Speaking for Ourselves: American Ethnic Writing,” one of the first widely accepted literary collections featuring writers of color.

Simon & Schuster has planned a fall book tour for “The Gay Revolution.”

Media inquiries: Leah Johanson, senior publicist at Simon & Schuster, leah.johanson@simonandschuster.com or 212.698.7144.