Brave Journeys: Profiles in Gay and Lesbian Courage

David Mixner, Author, Dennis Bailey, Joint Author
David Mixner, Author, Dennis Bailey, Joint Author Bantam Books $24.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-553-10651-0
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-553-38008-8
Open Ebook - 217 pages - 978-0-307-78869-6
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Taking their cue from John F. Kennedy's 1956 Pulitzer Prize-winning Profiles in Courage, and such spinoffs as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Alan Steinberg's Black Profiles in Courage, Mixner (Stranger Among Friends) and Bailey detail the lives, careers and accomplishments of seven gay and lesbian freedom fighters. Lovers Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon founded Daughters of Bilitis, a club that began as an anonymous meeting place for lesbians in San Francisco in 1955 (a harrowing time for homosexuals, when exposure often meant the loss of one's job and/or children) and blossomed into a force for gay rights. Sir Ian McKellen is an accomplished actor and gay rights activist. Elaine Noble, a former state representative of Massachusetts, was the first openly gay person elected to state office in the U.S., in 1975. Roberta Actenberg, an activist lawyer, cofounded the gay Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom and was later appointed by President Clinton as assistant secretary of housing and urban development in 1993. Model serviceman Lt. Tracy Thorne was dismissed from the navy after declaring he was gay on prime-time news in 1992. Dianne Hardy-Garcia, a grassroots gay organizer from Dallas, is executive director of the Lesbian and Gay Rights Lobby of Texas. Though their intent is obviously hagiography, Mixner and Bailey avoid maudlin sentimentality. If the authors occasionally indulge in feel-good overstatements (""thanks to Elaine Noble's pioneering efforts, diversity reigns on the American political landscape""), they also provide compelling narratives of courage and tenacity, of ample inspiration and commemoration. (Aug.)
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