Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Gay America: Struggle for Equality by Linas Alsenas

Short entries and lots of photos and illustrations make this history book easy to dip in and out of. The index appears to be thorough; I used it to refer back to material I'd previously read. The origin of the lambda symbol is an example of something I went back to, because this is a question that has been asked of me in the past and I don't remember being satisfied with the answer I found. (And it was so long ago that I don't remember what that answer was, anyway.)

The Gay Activists Alliance adopted the lambda as their logo in the 1970s. "The official reason was something about it symbolizing a 'complete exchange of energy' - but really, the designer had picked it because he thought it looked cool." According to the notes, the quote within the excerpt from Gay America is from Out for Good by D. Clendinen and A. Nagourney. I would still like to know more about the lambda logo - who was the designer, for example - so I'm pleased to have this lead on another source.

I noticed only one slip (page 123) where the author used language in a way that may not be understood outside of the GLBTQ community of a certain age: "even the crunchy Olivia Records company had shifted gears." 'Granola' in the lesbian context isn't explained anywhere in the text, so 'crunchy' (from crunchy granola) may seem an odd usage.

This book should appeal to readers from Grade 6 all the way up to adults.

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