Capital Pride

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Capital Pride

Books about LGBTQ Life and Experience in Washington, D.C.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month (LGBT Pride Month) is celebrated each year in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan. The Stonewall riots were a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States.

Although New York City is often associated with the birth of the Gay Rights Movement there is a considerable resonance of LGBT advocacy and history right here in our city. 

A Queer Capital: A History of Gay Life in Washington, D.C. By: Genny Beemyn
Based on archival work, personal interviews, and literary history, A Queer Capital is a history of LGBT Washington D.C. from the turn of the 20th century through the Eisenhower era. The book is a lively history of black and white gay communities and individuals, attesting to the vibrant cultural and intellectual life of a city sometimes believed to be neither.

Gay and Lesbian, Washington, D.C. By: Frank Muzzy
From the planner of the city on the Potomac River, to generations of gay women who fought for the ratification of the 19th Amendment, through the 1980s when people covered the Mall with a quilt to finally heart politicians utter the word AIDS, Washington, D.C., has a place in the identity of gay and lesbian America, which continues even now in the fight for marriages equal under the law and in the heart. This book contains historic and contemporary images of gay life in the nation's capital. 

The Dividends of Dissent: How Conflict and Culture Work in Lesbian and Gay Marches on Washington By: Amin Ghaziani
Marching on Washington is a hallowed tradition of American political protest and demonstrations led by the women's rights, civil rights, and antiwar movements all endure in popular memory. Between 1979 and 2000, four major lesbian and gay demonstrations took place here and while these marches were some of the largest of their time, they have been sorely overlooked - until now. Drawing on extensive archival research, historical data, original photographs, interviews with key activists, and more than a thousand news articles, The Dividends of Dissent offers a thorough analysis - descriptive, historical, and sociological - of these marches and their organization.

Not Straight, Not White: Black Gay Men from the March on Washington to the AIDS Crisis By: Kevin J. Mumford
This compelling book recounts the history of black gay men from the 1950s to the 1990s, tracing how the major movements of the times - from civil rights to black power to gay liberation to AIDS activism - helped shape the cultural stigmas that surrounded race and homosexuality. In locating the rise of black gay identities in historical context, Kevin Mumford explores how activists, performers, and writers rebutted negative stereotypes and refused sexual objectification. Examining the lives of famous and little-known black gay activists - from James Baldwin and Bayard Rustin to Joseph Beam and Brother Grant-Michael Fitzgerald - Mumford analyzes the ways in which movements for social change both inspired and marginalized black gay men.

The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government By: David K. Johnson
Historian David K. Johnson relates the frightening, untold story of how during the Cold War, homosexuals were considered as dangerous a threat to national security as Communists. Charges that the Roosevelt and Truman administrations were havens for homosexuals proved a potent political weapon, sparking a "Lavender Scare" more vehement and long-lasting than McCarthy's Red Scare. Relying on newly declassified documents, years of research in the records of the National Archives and the FBI, and interviews with former civil servants, Johnson recreates the vibrant gay subculture that flourished in New Deal-era Washington and takes us inside the security interrogation rooms where thousands of Americans were questioned about their sex lives.

The Gay Metropolis: 1940 - 1996 By: Charles Kaiser
A compelling social and political history of modern gay life in America. Kaiser is the first author to devote equal attention to the personal and the political, alternating between the intimate stories of people as famous as Leonard Bernstein and Gore Vidal and as little known as Sandy Kern, a young Brooklyn woman who first heard the word lesbian when a neighbor spied her with an arm around her girlfriend at the end of a wartime blackout.

Though it focuses on New York City, The Gay Metropolis includes stops in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Paris, Egypt, and Israel to capture wry, important, or novel tales. And it covers the major social, political, and cultural events that have affected the way gay people view themselves and how they have been treated by the larger.

The Right Side of History: 100 years of LGBTQI Activism Edited by Adrian Brook / Foreword by Jonathan D. Katz.
The Right Side of History tells the 100-year history of queer activism in a series of revealing close-ups, first-person accounts, and intimate snapshots of LGBT pioneers and radicals. This diverse cast stretches from the Edwardian period to today, including first-person accounts of the key protest that is at the heart of the 2015 movie Stonewall.

The book shows how LGBT folk have always been in the forefront of progressive social evolution in the United States. It references heroes like Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, Bayard Rustin, Harvey Milk, and Edie Windsor. Equally, the book honors names that aren't in history books: from participants in the Names Project - a national phenomenon memorializing 94,000 AIDS victims - to underground artists and writers. 

Gay is good: The life and Letters of Gay Rights Pioneer Franklin Kameny Edited by Michael G. Long
Contrary to popular notions, today's LGBT movement did not begin with the Stonewall riots in 1969. Long before Stonewall, there was Franklin Kameny (1925–2011), one of the most significant figures in the gay rights movement. Beginning in 1958, he encouraged gay people to embrace homosexuality as moral and healthy, publicly denounced the federal government for excluding homosexuals from federal employment, openly fought the military's ban against gay men and women, debated psychiatrists who depicted homosexuality as a mental disorder, identified test cases to advance civil liberties through the federal courts, acted as counsel to countless homosexuals suffering state-sanctioned discrimination, and organized marches for gay rights at the White House and other public institutions.

In Gay Is Good, Long collects Kameny's historically rich letters, revealing some of the early stirrings of today's politically powerful LGBT movement.

Grief By: Andrew Holleran
A pensive, creative, and haunting novel that speaks to the heart without sentimentality, an important novel from the 1970s and 1980s gay-lit renaissance. Holleran offers the story of a middle-aged gay man heading to Washington, D.C., to live and teach for a short term, to get away from his hometown after his mother's death. He takes a room in an elegant townhouse owned by another middle-aged gay man, who is slowly and quietly grieving over the loss of youthful energy, attractiveness, and prowess. While living in Washington and commiserating with his landlord and the friend they have in common over the loss of lives the tsunami of AIDS caused in the '80s, he rather accidentally picks up a volume containing the letters of Mary Todd Lincoln.