Then Comes Marriage is both an amazing look behind the scenes of the United States vs Windsor case against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and also an incredibly touching look at the lives of Edie Windsor and her spouse of 44 years, Thea Spyer. Roberta (Robbie) Kaplan, who fought the case from 2009 until it's eventual success before the Supreme Court in 2013, lays bare the framework that became the basis of her argument and shows the sometimes grueling process of working such a complex case through the system in a timely manner. Her wit and humor will make you laugh and keep you hooked and Edie and Thea's story will make you reflect on life and what it means to truly love.
Through biographies of Michael Callen and Essex Hemphill, Duberman creates an emphatic and personal exploration of the early days of AIDS. Both men were key figures in the activism and art scene in the 1980s, and their lives and legacies are the perfect vehicles for illuminating the historical record (or lack thereof). Hold Tight Gently is not just a history of an epidemic, but a fascinating look into ways activism works and doesn’t, power structures, and erasure of groups and identities. It’s a devastating, heartbreaking, and necessary book.
Robert Beachy's Gay Berlin is not simply a cultural study of Berlin from mid-19th century to Nazis' ascent to power. It is also a thorough and erudite exploration of anti-gay legislation, medical views of homosexuality and gender, and beginnings of the gay rights movement, years before Stonewall. If all this makes it sound like a dense history volume, do not fear, fascinating historical details and Beachy’s engaging style make Gay Berlin a must-read addition to the LGBTQ history reading list.