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The Children of Harvey Milk: How LGBTQ Politicians Changed the World

The Children of Harvey Milk

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, Dr. Andrew Reynolds argues that the most important catalyst of gay rights is often overlooked: individuals. Specifically, openly gay politicians had a critical role in bringing about a more positive attitude towards homosexuality, both among other politicians and the general public.

The Children of Harvey Milk (to be released on April 19) tells the epic stories of courageous men and women around the world who came forward to make their voices heard during the struggle for equal rights. Based on in-depth interviews with more than fifty 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. The 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. Dr. 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.

Blending personal stories with historical data, Dr. Reynolds offers both a compelling portrait of LGBT politicians and a powerful explanation of the importance of identity politics in the success of the gay rights movement. A touchstone narrative of the tumultuous journey towards gay rights, The Children of Harvey Milk is a must-read for anyone with an interest in gay rights, social movements, and social change.

Dr. Reynolds is a specialist in democratization, electoral-system design, constitutional design, minority rights, and ethnic conflict. His undergraduate degree, in political science, is from the University of East Anglia in England; his master’s degree, in South African politics, is from the University of Cape Town, and his PhD, in political science, is from the University of California at San Diego. He taught at the University of Notre Dame for three years and has been at UNC-CH since 2001; at UNC he chaired the Global Studies Curriculum from 2008 to 2013.

He has undertaken advising missions over the past 23 years to more than 20 countries and has been an expert consultant for several others. He was an advisor to the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in the Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement talks (2003-2005), the Afghan Wolesi Jirga (2003-2007), the Libyan National Transitional Council (2001), and a number of Egyptian political parties (2011). He has published opinion pieces in the New York Times and Washington Post (among other papers). He serves on the Editorial Board of the journal Representation. His recent editorials in the Raleigh News and Observer have noted that the State of North Carolina cannot be considered a functioning democracy….

(A somewhat longer, more detailed bio can be found here.)

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