There we are, sitting in the middle of a crowd of people in the back of a bookshop. Could be BookCourt, McNally, powerHouse, Housing Works: you know, the good ones. Maybe we’re even at a university. The author has spoken. The moderator has asked his own special questions. Silence has fallen. Now, the gazes of the dudes onstage swing towards us assembled fans like the headlamps on two old Volvos going round a corner. Up go the hands! The moderator chooses a select few, seemingly at random.
“It’s time for us to be intolerant—intolerant of all forms of homophobia, transphobia, and all forms of bigotry against LBGT people,” writes journalist/SiriusXM host Michaelangelo Signorile in his new book, It’s Not Over: Getting Beyond Tolerance, Defeating Homophobia, and Winning True Equality. A call to arms-cum-history of recent injustices, It’s Not Over is an invaluable and idiot-proofed argument against resting on our laurels and giving up the fight in the face of recently won advances for LGBT people. Signorile warns against “victory blindness” and “covering” temptations, hits back at Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (he characterizes the term “religious freedom” as “dog whistling”), and points out the lack of equality that isn’t even bothering to hide in plain sight in pop culture and on news programs, which regularly trot out discredited anti-gay activists for the sake of hearing “the other side.”
A few weeks ago I spent a morning at the Norman Mailer archives at the University of Texas looking through the research materials for The Executioner's Song, Mailer's 1979 account of the life and death of Utah murderer Gary Gilmore. Around me, students in white gloves turned the pages of leather-bound books so fragile they must have been ancient or holy, perhaps even both.