chapter  1
23 Pages

Introduction

WithStephen Valocchi

Chapter 1 begins by examining the current state of affairs of the LGBT movement in the United States, focusing specifically on the somewhat glowing assessments as “post-gay” or “beyond the closet.” In order to properly assess the validity of these assessments, we need to step back and ask who is included in these descriptions, who is left out and how we “got here.” The chapter lays the groundwork for answering these questions through historical analysis and through the lens of the gay and lesbian movement over the course of the past 70years. The sociology of the movement has focused on concepts such as resource mobilization, political opportunity, social networks and social solidarities. The chapter suggests that these concepts need to be properly situated in the political economy of capitalism. The book continues and updates the argument of historian John D’Emilio made 35 years ago that connects the emergence of gay identity and the lesbian and gay movement to the dynamics of capitalism.