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The Tolerance Trap: How God, Genes, and Good Intentions are Sabotaging Gay Equality (Intersections) Hardcover – May 2, 2014


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Product Details

  • Series: Intersections
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press (May 2, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814770576
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814770573
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,772 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Finally, a writer and critical thinker has treated queerness with true insight, and proper respect for its complexities and contradictions. Thank you, Suzanna Walters, for bringing so much rigor and balance; such ardent, subtle questioning; such respect for genuine human rights to the horrifically over-simplified term, 'tolerance.'"-Michael Cunningham,author of The Hours

The Tolerance Trap brilliantly and boldly goes where few have gone before. It rattles the cage of tolerance in pursuit of true gay liberation. For gays and straights alike, it challenges us to be more our quirky, original, sexual gorgeous selves and to settle for nothing less than radical love and freedom.”-Eve Ensler,playwright and creator of The Vagina Monologues

"The last decade has brought astonishing changes in the arena of lesbian and gay rights, culture, and everyday life, but The Tolerance Trap—part memoir, part polemic, part sociological analysis—uncovers the troubling dilemmas inside of them. Walters brings her formidable brain, disarming humor, and sharp tongue to bear on the question of why it just sucks to be tolerated."-Joshua Gamson,author of Claims to Fame: Celebrity in Contemporary America

"Walters has a wicked sense of humor, and in The Tolerance Trap she wields it to argue against tolerance.This is a beautifully written and provocative brief for the integration of queer difference in U.S. society. Combining personal stories with analysis of popular culture, public opinion, movement activism, and trends in gay life today, Walters evaluates where we are in this contemporary moment, showing that we have both come a long way and have a long way to go. And tolerance, she insists, is not the way to get there.After reading this book, you'll never want to be tolerated again."-Leila J. Rupp,author of Sapphistries: A History of Love between Women

"While the mainstream LGBT movement is clamoring for acceptance and tolerance, Walters worries about the radical vision contained by gay liberation being diluted, minimized, transformed, perhaps even lost forever. Is being accepted by the heterosexual majority really the best the movement can come up with? This book sparks a desperately needed conversation. It needs to be read by every heterosexual concerned about gay rights."-Michael Kimmel,author of Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era

About the Author

Suzanna Danuta Walters has written and lectured extensively on sexuality, popular culture, and feminism and is currently the Director of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Professor of Sociology at Northeastern University. She is the author of several books, including All the Rage: The Story of Gay Visibility in America and Material Girls: Making Sense of Feminist Cultural Theory.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By MEA on May 9, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Thank you, Suzanna Walters, for slapping me across the face and shaking me out of the numbness and complicity to which I’ve grown accustom. This book was an inspired read, a welcome reminder of what I truly believe is important but had forgotten in the face of small queer victories. And, as a student of sociology, this book was also a challenging read, forcing me to “marry” what I teach and what I research with how I live.
It’s uncomfortable to acknowledge that, although categories of gender and sexual orientation are neat and accessible, explanations for sexual identities are convenient and palatable, and exclusion is often expedient, these strategies are never-the-less misguided and dangerous. For those of us who have begun our diversity trainings with a laundry list of definitions, Walters brings our attention to the implications of these distinctions. For those of us about to celebrate ten years of marriage in Massachusetts, it is with humor and a sense of intimacy that Walters’ work does not allow us to forget the history of this oppressive institution.
With The Tolerance Trap, Walters confronts us; and, it is refreshing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. L. Gray on June 1, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Full disclosure: I'm a fan of Walters' scholarship and accessible polemics. She always gets me thinking. But "Tolerance Trap" offers something that both the LGBTQ body politic (desperately!) needs right now and that could be a game changer for our straight allies: A progressive vision of not just equality but radical acceptance and integration of difference. After decades of a national political agenda dominated by calls for marriage equality and dogmatic demands for allegiance to that singular goal, Walters outlines a different route. What if we stop relying on what Walters dubs a "born this way" discourse (no disrespect, Lady G!) and made a case for the value of difference that is <gasp> something we can all choose!? Couldn't we all, for example, get behind rejecting marriage as a system of government entitlements for coupledom and still celebrate relationships, licensed or not? Monogamous or not? While I've always appreciated my students accepting their peers (and me) because, well, "gay is ok" it is sooooo nice to have a witty, laser-sharp analysis of the damage it does to our collective humanity to suggest that sexualities and genders must only be tolerated. The language of "tolerance," as Walters astutely notes, justifies containing the more "dangerous" feminist politics embedded in any sexual or gender revolution: we should all have a right to experience our loves and embodiment not because of a particular genetic predisposition but because humanity is far better off celebrating and cultivating its diversity. Thank you, Prof. Walters!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By sjj13kson on June 21, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This will likely be a challenging read for some straight allies who consider themselves progressive on LGBT issues because it asks us to stop patting ourselves on the back for our tolerance (which, as Walters points out, is like being self-congratulatory about ignoring a fart on an elevator). Rather, through personal stories and a solid base in queer theory and activism, Walters asks us to transform and radicalize our visions of sex and gender inclusion in a way that requires us to decenter our own identities. Walters also makes a compelling counter to the popular "born this way" narrative, allowing queer identities fluidity and identifying this fluidity as all the more reason to celebrate them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Anne Gibeau on May 31, 2014
Format: Hardcover
What a great read! Walters invites the reader to engage in looking closely at the concept of tolerance as it relates to gay rights and gay life by sharing her own life experiences. She tackles the moment where we find ourselves - in "gay" American cultural and political history - and closely examines through the lenses of science, medicine, genetics, politics, culture and the lived realities of gay life the place we find ourselves - still far to go toward true equality. Walters helped me to understand my own unease. She proves a companionable guide through complex issues, and I enjoyed her voice and approach.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By catherine guthrie on May 14, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Reading this book was like having cocktails with a smart, sassy, not-afraid-to-go-there friend who spelled out what is wrong with the concept of "tolerance" in a way that I (the average reader) could not only understand but also enjoy. And she didn't stop with tolerance. She dug down to the core of why issues like gay marriage, the so-called gay gene, and gays on TV (why are they all so neutered and boring?) have always left me feeling icky inside but without the words to explain why. On second thought, maybe cocktails are a bad idea. No doubt the author's combination of brutal honesty and biting wit would have me laughing so hard I'd snort my drink up my nose.
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