“How We Won the War for LGBTQ Equality” discusses where we have been and where we are going

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How We Won the War for LGBTQ Equality: And How Our Enemies Could Take It All Away by Kevin Naff
Black background with the title "How We Won the War for LGBTQ Equality: And How Our Enemies Could Take It All Away" in white. And the White House lit in rainbow colors.
How We Won the War for LGBTQ Equality: And How Our Enemies Could Take It All Away by Kevin Naff

The Washington Blade is the nation’s oldest-running LGBTQ publication, just having made its 50th anniversary in 2019. Located in D.C., the “Gay Blade” is widely respected and acclaimed for its coverage of federal-level legislation and its place in the White House Correspondents Association and the briefing room.

Kevin Naff, editor and co-owner of the Blade, has brought together some of the most poignant pieces from his tenure at the newspaper, from before same-sex marriage was enshrined in the Obergefell v. Hodges decision, all the way to just the past year in 2022.

The collection of articles spans a variety of topics, all separated by chapter. Examples stem from “Marriage” to “Pop Culture,” “Politics, Legislation, and Courts,” to “Religion.” Of the topics that stuck out on an international scale, Naff’s chapter “Outing” was among the most poignant. Though it is a quite controversial tactic even within the LGBTQ community, the idea of publicly forcing people in positions of power and media figures out of the closet is not something delegated only to the Blade.

Peter Tatchell, a now treasured gay activist in the UK, is known for many controversial tactics. Among them is the outing of religious figures who espoused anti-gay bigotry. He argued that it was queer self-defense, something that can be likened to the “Outing” articles included in this book.

But as comes naturally with a community that holds a large spectrum of values and opinions, it is natural that there may be things in this collection that some may find issues with, such as Naff’s opinion piece on Dave Chappelle. The great majority of the book, however, is much too important to get caught up over these few opinions.

The Washington Blade for all its years has been a tool that many Americans have utilized to know what is happening to and in their community. It has also provided them with a vast range of strategies to be able to effectively push back against anti-LGBTQ bias. If not for the journalists championing to get the information provided here, our community would be less unified and less informed of the issues that affect us daily.

How We Won the War for LGBTQ Equality and How Our Enemies Could Take it All Away by Kevin Naff ISBN 9781956470819

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Siegfried Schaefer is a senior at Montclair State University. He is a German major with a minor in Myth Studies. He enjoys reading and watching sci-fi and fantasy in his freetime, and loves to analyze the themes of gender, queerness, and neurodivergence in these stories. Out In Jersey is the first publication Siegfried has worked with.