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Windy City Times 2023-12-13
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Biography of gay pioneer Barbara Gittings out in time for Pride
2015-06-18

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CHICAGO - Barbara Gittings: Gay Pioneer, the first full-length biography of the woman who has been called the mother of the gay-rights movement, is available in time for Pride 2015.

The book is by journalist Tracy Baim, author of 11 books on LGBT history. Award-winning writer Lillian Faderman wrote the foreword for the book. It is available in both a full-color and B&W editions in print, and will be on Kindle in color July 15.

The work of Gittings in the LGBT movement spanned from the late 1950s until her death in 2007. Her partner in life, Kay Lahusen, photographed many of the movement's biggest actions during the 1960s, and more than 270 photos accompany this biography, making it a historical photo album of the movement.

Gittings was active in a wide range of pre- and post-Stonewall groups, including the Daughters of Bilitis. She served as editor of DOB's newsletter, The Ladder. She worked with fellow gay pioneer Frank Kameny on many protests and legal cases fighting government discrimination.

Perhaps most importantly, Gittings was among the leaders of the push to change the American Psychiatric Association diagnosis of homosexuality as an illness, and she was among those pushing the American Library Association to be more inclusive of gays.

"As Baim shows, more than any lesbian leader of the 20th century, Gittings kept her eyes sharply focused on the prize of civil rights for gay people," writes Faderman

"This first and deeply moving biography of Barbara Gittings, pioneer of lesbian political activism, dramatically evokes a past of open, outrageous anti-homosexual discrimination," said author Jonathan Ned Katz, co-director, OutHistory.org . "Today's radically different world was first imagined and then begun to be built by daring activists like Gittings."

Author and historian John D'Emilio said: "Tracy Baim brings Gittings to life in this captivating and inspiring biography. Skillfully combining Gittings' own words with accounts of her activist campaigns, this biography makes clear how much Gittings accomplished. A committed activist for five decades, Barbara Gittings truly changed the world. "

"Barbara Gittings just about leaps from the pages of Tracy Baim's celebratory biography of the gay rights movement's happiest warrior," said Eric Marcus, author of Making Gay History. "Determined, persistent, persuasive, and wicked-smart, Barbara wielded her smile like a machete, demolishing all demagogues and fools who got in the way of what she knew to be true about herself and the rest of us. How lucky were we that she was born at a time when we so desperately needed her to help blaze our path to freedom."

"Tracy Baim has captured the life and legacy of the mother of gay liberation in America with this book. Barbara Gittings would have loved it. Another incredible book on our history," said Reverend Troy Perry.

The link to the B&W edition is: www.amazon.com/Barbara-Gittings-Pioneer-Tracy-Baim/dp/1512019747 .

Color edition: http://www.amazon.com/Barbara-Gittings-Gay-Pioneer-Color/dp/151201978X

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tracy Baim is publisher and executive editor of Windy City Times, which she co-founded in 1985. She has won numerous gay community and journalism honors, including the Community Media Workshop's Studs Terkel Award in 2005 and several Peter Lisagor journalism awards. Baim received the 2013 Chicago Headline Club Lifetime Achievement Award for her 30 years in journalism. In 2014, she was inducted into the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association Hall of Fame. Baim is the editor and co-author of Gay Press, Gay Power: The Growth of LGBT Community Newspapers in America ( 2012 ), a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and a Top 10 selection from the American Library Association GLBT Round Table.


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