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Copyright (c) 1994 President and Fellows of Harvard College
Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review

RECENT PUBLICATIONS: Lesbians, Gay Men, and the Law. Edited by William B. Rubenstein

New York: The New Press, 1993. Pp. 569. $ 45.00 (cloth), $ 30.00 (paper).

Winter, 1994

29 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 257


Brad Sears


Regimes of silence have deprived lesbians and gay men of history, community, and traditions of coping. Negative stereotypes and myths have justified the regulation of our lives. From the void of censorship and against the proliferation of negative representations, lesbians and gay men have struggled to construct identities, communities, and political and social movements. "Coming out," being open about one's sexual orientation and one's life, has been a crucial strategy in combatting the silence and the myths.

In the legal arena, lesbians and gay men face the same obstacles of lies and silence. Historically, the law has reflected and reproduced the position that gay lives are either "unspeakable" or "unnatural." In his new casebook, Lesbians, Gay Men, and the Law, William B. Rubenstein recognizes that the law will never adequately serve lesbians and gay men until it understands the lives of lesbians and gay men. Rubenstein positions coming out as a central and indispensable principle not only for defining and fighting for lesbian and gay rights, but also for teaching sexual orientation and the law.

A Gay Agenda

One of the most absurd aspects of the religious right's vitriolic attack on "the gay agenda" is the simplistic assumption that lesbians and gay men have but one agenda. The answers to the questions of who we are and what we want have been as varied as the people aggregated under the banner of sexual orientation.

Gay agendas can be loosely grouped ...
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