Coming Out




Cities around the country are preparing for their annual Gay Pride festivals this month. I was a teen when my hometown—Madison, Wisconsin—had its first gay pride parade. It’s amazing to have seen the shift, in my own lifetime, from the parade as a controversial, even risky enterprise to just another summer festival.

Nonetheless, the legal and social issues that go with the experience of being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered in the United States remain unresolved on many fronts. The New York Times recently launched a fabulous interactive feature called “Coming Out.” The site offers visitors access to a range of photos and audio stories by and about gay, lesbian, and transgendered youth across the country. Visitors can comment and share their reactions and stories on the site, too.

In view of the ongoing debate in the United States surrounding same-sex marriage and the headlines that draw our attention to bullying of and suicides among gay and lesbian and transgendered youth, the Times started the project in an effort to better understand the lives of LGBT teens and to offer them a forum for entering the social conversation.

TFCB has a couple of terrific titles (covers above) to contribute to the discussion and understanding of LGBT experience:

Gay Power: The Stonewall Riots and the Gay Right Movement, 1969—by Betsy Kuhn. This title gives a detailed overview of the ongoing fight for LGBT rights in the United States, with a focus on the modern movement as catapulted into the mainstream by the 1969 riots at the Stonewall, a gay bar in New York’s Greenwich Village.

Same-Sex Marriage: Moral Wrong or Civil Right?—by Tricia Andryszewski. With an updated edition to come in just a matter of weeks for the Fall 2011 season in the USA TODAY’s Debate series, this title takes an objective look at the struggle for same-sex marriage in the United States. Drawing on primary source materials and quotes and interviews from both sides of this issue, readers can better form their own opinion.

Check in next week for more from TFCB!