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Great Events from History: GLBT Events
Great Events from History: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Events chronicles important historical events from around the world that have identified, defined, and legally established the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender individuals. In editorially defining the content of this book, we adopted the thinking expressed by historian Jonathan Ned Katz in his preface to the 1992 revised edition of his edited collection Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A.:
“As the major terms defining our object of study, 'homosexual' and 'heterosexual,' applied to a past society, may obscure the very different ways in which same-sex and different-sex pleasures were organized and constructed under different social conditions. Our modern concepts, applied uncritically to the past, simply project our present social organization of eroticism, procreation, and gender onto that past, distorting our ability to see it as it was to those who lived it. Applied to the past, 'homosexuality' and 'heterosexuality' may deny the difference of past and present, and may deny us a subtle, sophisticated sense of historical diversity.”
Therefore, our chronology begins in the mid-nineteenth century when German journalist and gay-rights advocate Karl Maria Kertbeny coined the terms “homosexual” and “heterosexual.”
We have attempted to select events that help to mark the definition of “gender,” the emergence of social, cultural, and political movements, and the struggles to gain civil rights. In some cases, one event represents and offers discussion of many. For example, the article on Illinois becoming the first state to abolish its laws against consensual homosexual acts in 1961 also discusses the effect of this action on other states. In particular, essays also include “see also” cross-references to related articles within the set.
Most of the essays published here were originally commissioned by Salem Press for inclusion in GLBT Life with Full Text, an online database distributed by EBSCO Publishing. Salem Press retained the rights to publish this material with the addition of newly commissioned materials, primary source documents, and photographs and illustrations as a print reference book.
Essay Length and Format
The GLBT Series joins other titles in Salem Press’s Great Events from History sets, and individual essays have an average length of 1,000 words (2-3 pages). As in the chronological references to worldwide events in Salem’s other history sets, we have approached the discussion of each historical event with a uniform essay format. Every essay prominently displays the following:
Date: The date of the event using the most specific date (or date range)
Abstract: A brief summary of the event and its significance
Also known as: Name by which the event, organization, book title, and so forth might also be known
Locale: The location or locations of the event using the most specific location
Categories: Type of event, from the Arts, to Government and politics, HIV-AIDS, Race and ethnicity, Science, Sports, and Transgender/transsexuality.
Key Figures: List of the major individuals involved in the event, with birth and death dates, where possible, and a brief descriptor
Summary of Event: Describes the event chronologically with enough background discussion for the event to be understandable without losing focus on the facts of the event itself.
Significance: Describes the event’s impact, influence, or significance.
Byline: Name of the contributor who wrote this essay.
Further Reading: Sources for further study appropriate and accessible to librarians, students, and the general public.
See Also: Lists related essays within the set.
We have supplemented the essays with approximately 140 sidebars that will add to the reader’s understanding of the topics discussed. Some 115 essays include extracts from primary source documents such as court decisions, mission statements, laws, and important supporting texts. More than 25 essays include biographical profiles of individuals who were key to the event, tables providing statistics by state, filmographies, and other critical information that will deepen a reader’s knowledge of GLBT history. The 2 volumes are illustrated with some 100 photographs and other illustrations that visually bring topics to life.
The back matter in Volume 2 contains a number of reference tools to help readers further explore GLBT history. A Web site directory guides readers to sources that aid research in GLBT history and issues. A general, annotated bibliography organized by category directs readers to accessible sources, mainly books, for further study. A Category Index provides access to the individual essays through the 21 broad areas of interest. A Personage Index directs users to events in which a particular individual plays a role. The Subject Index provides access to the individual essays and their content through multiple access points.
Salem Press extends its appreciation to all who have been involved in the development and production of this work. Special thanks go to the editorial board. The essays were written by academic specialists as well as independent scholars, whose expert contributions made this interdisciplinary project possible. A full list of their names and affiliations appears in the front matter of this volume.
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