Hemning Sternberg (moonshadow) wrote in bookish,
Hemning Sternberg

I Do, I Don't: Queers On Marriage edited by Greg Wharton and Ian Philips

This is an anthology written in 2004, shortly after the furor over some quasi-legal San Francisco gay weddings and gay marriage becoming legal in my own Massachusetts. The pieces are short (mostly under three pages) and there are a lot of them - the book is more than 380 pages long, so you do the math. Some favorite authors are including - Tristan Taormino, S. Bear Bergman, Pat Califia, Marshall Miller and Dorian Solot, and Cecilia Tan. The book is fairly well balanced between pro- and anti-marriage queers*, and generally speaking the quality of the writing is high.

I think that this is a good book. I like the short pieces - I think the format makes people get to the point - three pages gives you little room to ramble. With that being said, it also has its limitations. It's very much focused on the American experience - there are only a few essays about gay marriage in other countries, and most of those are about Canada. Also, this is not a book you could give to your mother to convince her that gay marriage is an important issue, unless your mom is a lot cooler than mine - I think it pretty much assumes that the reader is both queer and very familiar with the queer movement. The work is already fairly dated only four years later - it's very specific to the time and place it was written in. And finally, in my opinion, it's just a bit too long. I had read about 150 pages when I felt that I had reconsidered my position on this issue and changed my perspective - but there were still more than 200 pages to go, and I was ready to be done at that point. Overall, I would still give the book three stars. I would recommend reading it, especially if you just pick out the essays that you like. It would also be a great resource for anyone doing a history project on this topic who wants to hear queer voices on the subject.

*I am using this word here when I otherwise might not because the editors made a point of using it. You can take it to stand for "gay, lesbian, bisexual, and/or transgendered."

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