Abstract

This is the (revised) introductory chapter of a book that I am currently writing. The book is titled Everyday Law for Gays and Lesbians, and is part of Paradigm Publishers' Everyday Law series.

The introductory chapter - indeed, the entire book - is built upon and around the power of narrative. I begin the chapter with a personal narrative that illustrates what I refer to as the current predicament of the lesbian and gay movement. In the first part of the chapter, I survey the social and legal landscape that surrounds the movement, explain why I view the current situation as a predicament, and consider the source of that predicament. Then, in the second part of the chapter, I set the stage - and the tone - for the remainder of the book by suggesting that the narratives of individual lesbians and gay men, told in their own words, are a radical and powerful tool for advancing us (meaning all lesbians and gay men) toward the unqualified acceptance that we seek. As I explain in the chapter, my goal in writing this book is to empower and inspire each of us to deploy these narratives in the most effective way possible.

In keeping with this view of the power of the individual narrative, I counsel against relying on others - whether straight allies or lesbian and gay rights organizations - to effect change on our behalf. I argue that it is up to each of us to draw attention to and challenge the ubiquitous privileging of heterosexuality in our society. And, the title of the book and the series notwithstanding, I further eschew overreliance on legal strategies for effecting change; instead, in the course of the book, I discuss both potential legal and non-legal avenues for effecting change.

I would greatly appreciate any comments that you might have on the chapter or any suggestions that you might have regarding coverage for the book.

Disciplines

Civil Rights and Discrimination | Law and Society | Sexuality and the Law

Date of this Version

June 2005

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