Fragmented Citizens: The Changing Landscape of Gay and Lesbian Lives
Fragmented Citizens: The Changing Landscape of Gay and Lesbian Lives by Stephen Engel
The landmark Supreme Court decision in June 2015 legalizing the right to same-sex marriage marked a major victory in gay and lesbian rights in the United States. Once subject to a patchwork of laws granting legal status to same-sex couples in some states and not others, gay and lesbian Americans now enjoy full legal status for their marriages wherever they travel or reside in the country. For many, the Supreme Court’s ruling means that gay and lesbian citizens are one step closer to full equality with the rest of America.
In Fragmented Citizens, Stephen M. Engel contends that the present moment in gay and lesbian rights in America is indeed one of considerable advancement and change—but that there is still much to be done in shaping American institutions to recognize gays and lesbians as full citizens. With impressive scope and fascinating examples, Engel traces the relationship between gay and lesbian individuals and the government from the late nineteenth century through the present. Engel shows that gays and lesbians are more accurately described as fragmented citizens. Despite the marriage ruling, Engel argues that LGBT Americans still do not have full legal protections against workplace, housing, family, and other kinds of discrimination. There remains a continuing struggle of the state to control the sexuality of gay and lesbian citizens—they continue to be fragmented citizens.
Fragmented Citizens is a sweeping historical and political account of how our present-day policy debates around citizenship and equality came to be.