On the Fringe: Gays and Lesbians in Politics

By David Rayside | Go to book overview
Save to active project


This book is an assessment of the relevance of legislative politics for achieving gay and lesbian equality. It is motivated in part by a recognition of how little analytical work has been undertaken on contemporary lesbian/gay/bisexual activism and its political impact. Most scholarly literature on state policy and social movements avoids more than the slightest mention of sexual diversity. This project springs also from a belief in the importance of contributing to our understanding of how members of sexual minorities can help provoke changes that improve the quality of people's lives--gay and straight. The book combines, I hope, the thoroughness of rigorous scholarship and the engagement of activist intent.

In some respects, my research has been rooted in an autobiographical interest in the consequences of immersion in established political processes, whether in a provincial legislature or a large and equally complex university. I originally came to be interested in such questions from activist experience that began in the late 1970s with The Body Politic, at the time Canada's best-known gay magazine. I was then taken up with legal defense work in the Right to Privacy Committee, which emerged in response to. Toronto police raids against gay bathhouses. In 1986 I coordinated a coalition to press (successfully) for the addition of sexual orientation to the Ontario Human Rights Code. It was at the conclusion of this campaign that I came to realize the importance of that political process, not only to social scientists but to activists themselves. Since that time I have retained a particular interest in discovering what creates opportunities for progress within mainstream processes.

As both activist and analyst, I bring to this inquiry a heterodox framework and an increasing aversion to certainty. I draw from analytical traditions born of class and feminist analysis, blended with liberal and social democratic traditions that rest on conceptions of individual and group agency. More than ever, I react against the surety with which many observers and participants interpret the long- term effects of processes and decisions just past. If, with the benefit of hindsight, skilled historians can disagree honestly about the significance of events in the past, how can we as analysts of the present claim we truly understand?


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
On the Fringe: Gays and Lesbians in Politics


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 360

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?