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Radical Relations: Lesbian Mothers, Gay Fathers, and Their Children in the United States since World War II (Gender and American Culture) Hardcover – September 3, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-1469607184 ISBN-10: 1469607182 Edition: 1st

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Radical Relations: Lesbian Mothers, Gay Fathers, and Their Children in the United States since World War II (Gender and American Culture) + Sexuality, Politics, and Social Control in Virginia, 1920-1945 + Peyton Place (Hardscrabble Books-Fiction of New England)
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Product Details

  • Series: Gender and American Culture
  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1 edition (September 3, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1469607182
  • ISBN-13: 978-1469607184
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #540,474 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Opens up a largely unexplored history."--Women's Review of Books

"In this deeply researched social history of six decades of gay fathers, lesbian mothers, and their children, Rivers seamlessly blends legal materials, oral histories, personal correspondence, and archival materials of grassroots organizations. . . . Essential. All levels/libraries."--Choice


"Rivers explores how lesbian and gay parents have worked to expand the cultural and legal definitions of family since the 1950s."--Stanford Magazine

Book Description

"A terrific book. In Rivers's skillful hands, 'family' becomes far more than the longstanding bulwark for conventional American values--it becomes instead a vibrant site of resistance to the racist, sexist, and heterosexist hierarchies foundational to such values."--Leisa Meyer, College of William & Mary

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Richard Schweid on September 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Extensive, ground-breaking research about a history that needed to be told, and he has done a great job of it. This book allows numerous people a chance to tell the remarkable stories of their lives as lesbian mothers and gay fathers trying to raise, and retain custody of, their children, and Rivers does a great job of putting the experiences of his primary sources into an historical context. The book is fascinating, both informative and interesting.
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Format: Hardcover
As gays demanded equal treatment under the law and to be accepted in mainstream society, gay parents experienced discrimination well into the 1980s (and beyond since new discrimination appeared as gays made substantial progress). Daniel Rivers's remarkable study on gay parents and their children from World War II to the present day shows how lesbian mothers and gay father went from hiding and living double lives to challenging the traditional view of the family, which had the full backing of the federal government. Paralleling with the modern LGBT freedom struggle, advocates for gay parental rights took direct action in the late 1960s. Before then, most gay right groups merely discussed the validity of tackling such an issue (these groups were pretty moderate unlike many gay liberation era groups who were inspired by 1960s radicalism). Rivers also seeks to show that gay parental activism contributed to a "family revolution," adding to our understanding of the various social changes that occurred in the 1960s and to the reproductive rights revolution (or sexual revolution).

Even when lesbian mothers and gay fathers had successfully divorced their heterosexual spouse, they still lived in fear of having their children taking away from them. Children were at the center of the debate on gay parenting. Just like today, many people believed that a child might suffer from psychological harm if they lived in a same-sex household. The fear that the child might become gay themselves, a belief that still has support from a good percentage of the population today, also decreased the likelihood that the parent would keep custody of their children. Even as gays came out in increasing numbers, some gay parents could not fully come out of the closet.
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