The Pink Line
ONE OF THE GUARDIAN’S and FINANCIAL TIMES’ BOOKS OF 2020
‘In intimate, often tender prose, Gevisser brings to life the complex movement for queer civil rights and the many people on whom it bears.’ Colm Toibin, Guardian
‘Powerful… meticulously researched’ Andrew McMillan, Observer Book of the Week
Six years in the making, The Pink Line follows protagonists from nine countries all over the globe to tell the story of how LGBTQ+ Rights became one of the world’s new human rights frontiers in the second decade of the twenty-first century.
From refugees in South Africa to activists in Egypt, transgender women in Russia and transitioning teens in the American Mid-West, The Pink Line folds intimate and deeply affecting stories of individuals, families and communities into a definitive account of how the world has changed, so dramatically, in just a decade.
And in doing so he reveals a troubling new equation that has come in to play: while same-sex marriage and gender transition are now celebrated in some parts of the world, laws to criminalise homosexuality and gender non-conformity have been strengthened in others. In a work of great scope and wonderful storytelling, this is the groundbreaking, definitive account of how issues of sexuality and gender identity divide and unite the world today.
In this masterful recounting of sexuality and identity around the globe, Mark Gevisser achieves an almost shocking empathy. His accounts are riveting, brilliantly researched, liberal, and forthright. He talks to people with and without privilege, of every race and of every nationality, limning the aspects of queer experience that are universal and those that are local. In intimate, often tender prose, he brings to life the complex movement for queer civil rights and the many people on whom it bears. Whether recounting suffering or triumph, he is a clear-sighted, fearless, and generous guide. -- Andrew Solomon A wide-ranging, open-hearted, beautifully told account of the radically various stateof LGBTQ rights in the world. This is a book that should be very widely read, and not only read, but acted upon. -- Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You Mark Gevisser's sensitive yet firmly broad range, coheres the concept of a 'pink line' the difference between the wish of queer individuals for autonomy, versus the increased manipulations of gay and trans identities to shore up power systems. His book is both enlightening and disturbing in a world where the wish to be understood can become a commodity of domination. -- Sarah Schulman The Pink Line traces a planet-spanning fissure that runs through the most intimate dimensions of life, documenting the sometimes literally war-torn rift zones where so-called 'traditional values' are being mobilized by states to combat trans, queer and feminist social movements. A smart and sobering book for our times. -- Susan Stryker, author of Transgender History: The Roots of Today's Revolution In intimate, often tender prose, Gevisser brings to life the complex movement for queer civil rights and the many people on whom it bears -- Colm Toibin * Guardian * Powerful... meticulously researched... Long after finishing the book, it's the individual stories of the likes of Pasha in Moscow, or Michael, the Ugandan refugee in Nairobi, that will stick with you. -- Andrew McMillan * Observer, Book of the Week * The humanity and tension with which Gevisser portrays his subjects keeps the prose engaging alongside his incredible and seemingly encyclopedic knowledge of LGBT world history ... this work moves the observation of the evolution of LGBT life and culture to the global scale and is a must-read for all interested in gender studies. * Library Journal * The Pink Line is a riveting, beautifully written, immensely moving book. It puts together a series of powerful personal stories that add up to a world riven by gender and sexual discrimination. The frontier between humiliation and civilisation is changing, albeit slowly, and we have to hope that it will move far further in the years to come. Mark's book will help that to happen. -- Lord Chris Smith The Pink Line is a deep diagnostic account of the ways in which queer lives and queer loves cross the fraught frontiers of race, rights, discrimination and denigration to transition from agony to agency, and isolation to community. Mark Gevisser has given us a rare piece of writing in which the quotidian confrontations and consolations of everyday life build into an encyclopedic vision of the global frontiers of the queer condition. This is politics and poetry all at once. Gevisser occupies the front-lines of sorrow and struggle with his informants who, in becoming his friends and comrades, together define an activism of defiant desire unafraid of the ambivalences and contradictions of the human condition. The Pink Line is a remarkable narrative of resilience, romance and realism. -- Homi Bhabha [An] ambitious, beautifully narrated book, whose lesbian and bi and gay and queer and trans and nonbinary and hijra and waria and bakla and kothi subjects live along what Gevisser names the Pink Line. -- Stephanie Burt * TLS * Praise for Lost and Found in Johannesburg: 'Outstanding. A genuinely strange, marvelous, and complex account of a self and a city. Mark Gevisser does for Johannesburg what Orhan Pamuk did for Istanbul. Gevisser is as intimate and sophisticated a guide as one would wish for to this great, troubled metropolis.' -- Teju Cole, author of Open City
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