Radical Relations: A History of Lesbian and Gay Parents

rivers_radical_smThe history of out lesbian and gay parents started decades before the term “gayby boom” was coined in 1990. A new book charts that history—so of course I had to review it.

The book is Radical Relations: Lesbian Mothers, Gay Fathers, and their Children in the United States Since the Second World War, by Daniel Winunwe Rivers. Rivers, an assistant professor of history at Ohio State University, draws on numerous LGBT historical archives and 130 personal interviews, and was clearly motivated by his own childhood in a lesbian feminist community during the 1970s.

My full review is in the May/June issue of the Women’s Review of Books, which for over 30 years “has provided a forum for serious, informed discussion of new writing by and about women.”  I’m grateful to Editor-in-Chief Amy Hoffman for the opportunity to do the review, and flattered that it’s the cover story. Hope you’ll have a read.

wrobcover_05_01_14The image on the cover? That’s lesbian activist and mom Blue Lunden with her daughter Linda, in 1955. Yes, 1955. It’s when Dwight D. Eisenhower was U.S. president, Winston Churchill retired as prime minister of the U.K., Disneyland first opened to the public, and Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus. It’s five years before the first episode of Mad Men is set. We might not have cars like that anymore, but much of what we do have in terms of awareness and equality we owe to those like Blue, who first showed the world that being LGBT and being a parent were not incompatible.