Tuesday, November 30, 2010

From the Closet to the Courtroom by Carlos A Ball *****

Why come out? The underlying basis of discrimination is invisibility. Discrimination encourages invisibility (some even posit that the goal of discrimination is to promote invisibility) and invisibility allows discrimination. Before civil rights, blacks were substantially invisible. The same can be said of women before feminism ... and sexual minorities before Stonewall.

From the Closet to the Courtroom by Carlos A Ball traces how LGBT lawyers and activist used the courts to increase visibility for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, and conversely how this increased visibility helped in courts.

In a very readable and engaging account, Ball explores the intricate legal subtleties considered by the Supreme Court from due process to rational basis to liberty and equal protection. The author presents these fine legal points in a way that is both clear and exciting.

In reviewing five cases: rent control in New York, student harassment in Wisconsin, discrimination in Colorado, marriage in Hawaii, and sodomy in Texas - this book traces the evolution of LGBT civil rights over the last 25 years. In addition to a civil rights story, an underlying theme is the growing understanding that sex involves more than reproduction; sex involves each person's identity, relationships, and dignity.

An excellent book with a boring title.

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