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The Children of Harvey Milk

How LGBTQ Politicians Changed the World

Andrew Reynolds

Publication Date - May 2020

ISBN: 9780190088972

384 pages
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches

In Stock

Andrew Reynolds' The Children of Harvey Milk is not only a compelling collective portrait of LGBTQ politicians around the glob


Part political thriller, part meditation on social change, part love story, The Children of Harvey Milk tells the epic stories of courageous men and women around the world who came forward to make their voices heard during the struggle for equal rights.

Featuring LGBTQ icons from America to Ireland, Britain to New Zealand; Reynolds documents their successes and failures, heartwarming stories of acceptance and heartbreaking stories of ostracism, demonstrating the ways in which an individual can change the views and voting behaviors of those around them. The book also includes rare vignettes of LGBTQ leaders in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean who continue to fight for equality in spite of threats, violence, and homophobia.

A touchstone narrative of the tumultuous journey towards LGBTQ rights, The Children of Harvey Milk is a must-read for anyone with an interest in social change. Updated in paperback, this new edition accounts for developments such as the US presidential candidacy of Pete Buttigieg.

New to this Edition

  • New preface accounts for developments such as Pete Buttigieg's presidential campaign


  • Traces the history of global breakthroughs for gays over the past two decades
  • Features interviews with over fifty senior elected officials and high profile candidates from across the globe
  • Tells a moving narrative of great personal highs and lows

About the Author(s)

Andrew Reynolds, Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Founded and directs the UNC LGBTQ Representation and Rights Research Initiative, the leading global think tank focused on LGBTQ politics. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian, New Statesman, and widely online. His twelve non-fiction books range from African politics to the Arab Spring, elections to the future of democracy. For twenty-five years he has been an advisor on democratic design in the world's most dangerous places. From South Africa to Somalia, Afghanistan to Libya, Burma to Ukraine, and many others.


"A unique look at how politics affect the LGBTQ community and the LGBTQ politicians that help bring about the changes needed for the community. Reynolds does an excellent job at not only looking at past politicians, but current game changes as well" -- The Over the Rainbow Booklist committee of the American Library Associationâs GLBT Round Table

"In this remarkable book, Andrew Reynolds shows us the global breadth and depth of the movement for equal rights among LGBTQ people. Reynolds shows us that the movement is world-wide, producing courageous leaders in countries that we might never imagine gay people coming forth, asserting their identities, and claiming their citizenship. This is a work of extraordinary scholarship and it provides us with a bracing dose of hope at a time when democracy itself is facing world-wide threats." - Kenneth Sherrill, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Hunter College, New York

"Andrew Reynolds' stunning book shows us the struggles-and failures-of the LGBTQ political movement worldwide, from Africa to the Caribbean. This is the story of our times: begun by Harvey Milk, and now carried on around the globe. Gripping, sobering, and inspiring."- Jennifer Finney Boylan, author of She's Not There and Long Black Veil

"Electing LGBTQ people to office is critical to moving equality forward. In The Children of Harvey Milk, Reynolds inspires and empowers as he traces the history of LGBTQ rights through the eyes of those who dreamed big, shattered barriers, and helped advance equality in the halls of parliaments and legislatures around the world." -Chad Griffin, President, Human Rights Campaign

"Andrew Reynolds captures the enormous progress LGBTQ people and candidates have made since Harvey Milk's run for office more than four decades ago - and demonstrates that LGBTQ political power is critical to advancing equality for our community. Few can match Reynolds' exhaustively researched LGBTQ political knowledge, and The Children of Harvey Milk will certainly become a key reference on the history of our movement." -Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund

"This is political biography at its best. By reviewing the careers (and self-reflections) of politicians who devoted themselves to advance LGBT rights from around the world, Reynolds illustrates the idea that the struggle for LGBT rights faces universal as well context-specific challenges. Reynolds's central claim is that gay rights don't emerge by themselves. They require the courage, astuteness, and perseverance of dedicated politicians to make them happen." -Javier Corrales, Professor of Political Science, Amherst College

"A must read in an era of relativism and complacency. In The Children of Harvey Milk, Andrew Reynolds reveals the political heroes and the personal journeys who contributed and are contributing to a radical shift in public attitudes on LGBT rights in parts of the World. Reynolds sensibly paints the way LGBTI leaders excel in turning their personal hardship in the precursor to beauty and triumph. More importantly, Children of Harvey Milk identifies ingredients of a recipe for a much-needed global social change starting with political participation and representation of LGBTI people." -Fabrice Houdart, Human Rights Officer at the United Nations Human Rights Office

"Andrew Reynolds tells inspiring stories of people-some familiar, some not-who were courageous enough to say 'this is who I am' and fight for a place at the table. They helped bring a community out of the shadows and into the light in ways both large and small." -Jim Obergefell, co-author of Love Wins and named plaintiff of the marriage equality decision Obergefell v. Hodges

"Andrew Reynolds' The Children of Harvey Milk is a compelling work of LGBTQ history and at the same time a clarion call for queer people to resist, to reform-and to get involved in politics. The book's true heart and soul are the stories of the army of LGBTQ politicians who have transformed our world in the decade's since Milks' assassination. A must read for anyone interested in how social change happens." -Steven Petrow, Columnist, USA Today, and Former President, National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association

"It takes many players, many methodologies, and many contributions to achieve transformative change such as our winning the freedom to marry in 25 countries so far (up from zero when we started). By collecting for the first time such a broad sweep of the emerging group of openly LGBT elected officials, Andrew Reynolds gives us their perspectives on the ways in which they make it into office, figure out how to use their voices and votes, work with activists (and sometimes butt heads with them), influence their colleagues, balance the pressures and expectations on them (both typical and singular), represent their own communities, find the courage to lead, and, sometimes, prove pivotal." -Evan Wolfson, Founder, Freedom to Marry

"Andrew Reynolds tells moving stories of politicians whose openness about being LGBT is reshaping laws and policies. Some led us out of the closet, while others had to be led-but all have helped create a more welcoming world. Reynolds links the stories with social science research to create a convincing picture of the past and the future of change." -M. V. Lee Badgett, Prof of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst

"Mandatory reading for all of those interested social justice movements, The Children of Harvey Milk is smart, educational, and entertaining. Reynolds draws his readers in by humanizing a movement that is all but exclusively politicized. Not only does this book fill a giant gap in the academic literature, it also manages to remain engaging and accessible to both academic and non academic readers alike. I can't recommend it any more highly.” -Melody Moezzi, Author of Haldol and Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life and War on Error: Real Stories of American Muslims

"Reynolds' work takes us on a global tour of key political battles for LGBTQ rights while reading like a novel. He skillfully weaves in moving stories -- most not widely known -- that brightly illustrate that persuasion in the halls of power has been often quite personal." -Ken Smith, National Co-Chair, Carolina Pride Alum Network

"Reynolds's protagonists are at the vanguard of political representation and rights for LGBT people in several established democracies. The personal narratives that drive the telling of their stories illuminates the mostly unseen experiences of these important facilitators of change-figures who have often worked within and benefited from the intense struggle of an enduring transnational movement. An inspiring read and hopeful account of the expansion of human rights, this book is helpful at a time when such new rights face heightened global resistance." - Phillip Ayoub, Professor of Diplomacy and World Affairs at Occidental College and author of When States Come Out: Europe's Sexual Minorities and the Politics of Visibility

"Illuminating political and social history."--Kirkus

"Refreshingly ambitious in its global scope... an engrossing set of journalistic pieces." --Gay & Lesbian Review

"The Children of Harvey Milk is a vital almost up to the minute barometer of where LGBTQ civil and human rights stand."--New York Journal of Books

"The book's group portrait of LGBTQ leaders who have labored for change is a reminder that representation matters. A scholarly analysis that will also appeal to politically engaged generalist readers."--Library Journal

"Here, readers will easily learn, and what they learn is absolutely inspiring. For political animals, this book is an easy choice. For the slightly clueless, it's a know-your-history book that doesn't dwell strictly domestically. For a casual reader, it may be challenging but in the end, The Children of Harvey Milk could be the most informative book you'll lay eyes on."--Terri Schlichenmeyer, BookwormSez column

"Offering a much-needed survey of the current LGBTQ political landscape, Reynolds tells the stories of the politicians and activists who have come after Milk, the first openly gay person elected to office in California... Demonstrating a real gift for storytelling, he allows the personal as well as the professional aspects of his subjects' lives to shine through." --Times Higher Education

Table of Contents

    1. The Milk Principle
    2. The Ballad of Peter and Simon
    3. I Have Quite a Powerful and Carrying Voice
    4. I Have Never Come Across a Homo in This House
    5. From Mississippi to Marriage
    6. Being First
    7. St. Christopher
    8. More Like Hell Than Heaven
    9. Cinders Goes to the Ball
    10. Mel and the Bees
    11. Southern Queers
    12. The Washington 43rd
    13. The Right Gays
    14. Britain Goes Gay at the Polls
    15. You Win Some, You Lose Some
    Appendix A: Interviews Conducted
    Appendix B: Out LGBTQ Parliamentarians 1976-2017

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