Coming Out Republican: A History of the Gay Right (Hardcover)

Coming Out Republican: A History of the Gay Right By Neil J. Young Cover Image
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A revelatory and comprehensive history of the gay Right from incisive political commentator Neil J. Young.

One of the most maligned, misunderstood, and even mocked constituencies in American politics, gay Republicans regularly face condemnation from both the LGBTQ+ community and their own political party. Yet they’ve been active and influential for decades. Gay conservatives were instrumental, for example, in ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and securing the legalization of same-sex marriage—but they also helped lay the groundwork for the rise of Donald Trump.

In Coming Out Republican, political historian and commentator Neil J. Young provides the first comprehensive history of the gay Right. From the 1950s up to the present day, Young excavates the multifarious origins, motivations, and evolutions of LGBTQ+ people who found their way to the institutions and networks of modern conservatism. Many on the gay Right have championed conservative values—like free markets, a strong national defense, and individual liberty—and believed that the Republican Party therefore offered LGBTQ+ people the best pathway to freedom. Meanwhile, that same party has actively and repeatedly demonized them. With his precise and provocative voice, Young details the complicated dynamics of being in—and yet never fully accepted into—the Republican Party.

Coming Out Republican provides striking insight into who LGBTQ+ conservatives are, what they want, and why many of them continue to align with a party whose rank and file largely seem to hate them. As the Republican Party renews its assaults on LGBTQ+ rights, understanding the significant history of the gay Right has never been more critical.

About the Author

Neil J. Young is a writer and the author of We Gather Together: The Religious Right and the Problem of Interfaith Politics. His work has appeared in publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, TheAtlantic, and Los Angeles Times, and he co-hosts the history podcast Past Present. He lives in Los Angeles.

Praise For…

Coming Out Republican is an incredible achievement: an astonishing work of history that makes a deeply compelling argument for the ways in which ‘gay Republicans’ have wielded power to serve white male interests. If you’ve ever wondered why, or how, a gay person could be a Republican—this book has the complicated answers.”
— Anne Helen Petersen, author of Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation

“In this deeply researched and deftly written history, Young offers a nuanced account of the politics and personalities of LGBTQ Republicans. Coming Out Republican is an absolute must-read.”
— Kevin M. Kruse, Princeton University

“Young’s nuanced history shows that gay Republicans, far from being monolithic, have included scoundrels and hypocrites, but also American heroes; kooks and fanatics, but also complex thinkers whose ideas have brought LGBTQ people closer to equality. Coming Out Republican is a wonderfully compelling read.”
— Lillian Faderman, author of The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle

Coming Out Republican is a meticulously researched and enthralling history of LGBTQ people on the political right in America. This sensitive and lucidly written account offers fascinating perspective on the ideological diversity of gay Republicans, the variety of political strategies they deployed in venues ranging from local organizations to the halls of Congress, and the successes, disappointments, and rationalizations that they experienced as the GOP veered between partial acceptance and backlash.”
— Geoffrey Kabaservice, author of Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party, from Eisenhower to the Tea Party

“You can’t understand either the modern history of the Republican Party or the emergence of the gay rights movement without appreciating how they have played off one another for nearly a half century. Young has written a fascinating account of gay Republicans, an underrecognized force who have shaped both their party and LGBT politics.”
— Sasha Issenberg, author of The Engagement: America’s Quarter-Century Struggle over Same-Sex Marriage

“Does a movement for liberation benefit from the inclusion of conservatives, or sabotage itself in the long term? Could lifestyle libertarians ever sit comfortably in coalition with Christian conservatives? And what's the deal with Milo Yiannopoulos, anyway? This elegantly composed and richly thorough study raises these thought-provoking questions and many more, on the way to making a genuinely fresh contribution to American political history."
— Rick Perlstein, author of Reaganland: America's Right Turn 1976-1980

Product Details
ISBN: 9780226818054
ISBN-10: 0226818055
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication Date: April 3rd, 2024
Pages: 400
Language: English