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The Pink Line (FSG)

"[Mark] Gevisser is clear-eyed and wise enough to have a sharp sense of how tough the struggle has been, and how hard it will be now for those who have not succeeded in finding shelter from prejudice." --Colm Tóibín, The Guardian

One of the Financial Times and Guardian Books to Look Forward to in 2020

A groundbreaking look at how the issues of sexuality and gender identity divide and unite the world today

More than seven years in the making, Mark Gevisser’s The Pink Line: Journeys Across the World’s Queer Frontiers is an exploration of how the conversation around sexual orientation and gender identity has come to divide—and describe—the world in an entirely new way over the first two decades of the twenty-first century. No social movement has brought change so quickly and with such dramatically mixed results. While same-sex marriage and gender transition are celebrated in some parts of the world, laws are being strengthened to criminalize homosexuality and gender nonconformity in others. As new globalized queer identities are adopted by people across the world—thanks to the digital revolution—fresh culture wars have emerged. A new Pink Line, Gevisser argues, has been drawn across the globe, and he takes readers to its frontiers.

Between sensitive and sometimes startling profiles of the queer folk he’s encountered along the Pink Line, Gevisser offers sharp analytical chapters exploring identity politics, religion, gender ideology, capitalism, human rights, moral panics, geopolitics, and what he calls “the new transgender culture wars.” His subjects include a Ugandan refugee in flight to Canada, a trans woman fighting for custody of her child in Moscow, a lesbian couple campaigning for marriage equality in Mexico, genderqueer high schoolers coming of age in Michigan, a gay Israeli-Palestinian couple searching for common ground, and a community of kothis—“women’s hearts in men’s bodies”—who run a temple in an Indian fishing village. What results is a moving and multifaceted picture of the world today, and the queer people defining it.

Eye-opening, heartfelt, expertly researched, and compellingly narrated, The Pink Line is a monumental—and urgent—journey of unprecedented scope into twenty-first-century identity, seen through the border posts along the world’s new LGBTQ+ frontiers.

Praise for The Pink Line:

"Extraordinary . . . a hugely ambitious and exceptional work of long-form journalism . . . [The Pink Line] is a work of clear-eyed analysis and exceptional reporting, and it deserves a wide and non-LGBT readership that wishes to understand these frontiers. What elevates the book is Gevisser’s poetic and queer gaze, his searching language about why he has dedicated almost a decade of his life to understanding a generational transformation." --Bilal Qureshi, The Washington Post

"This is a valuable book not only for the quality of Gevisser’s analysis and the scope of his research, but because he spends a good deal of time with the people on whose lives he focuses . . . He hangs out with them, enjoys their company; he renders them in all their complexity. Gevisser is also alert to the connection between gay freedom and other forms of liberty." --Colm Tóibín, The Guardian

"Through a series of personal narratives—lesbians seeking parental rights in Mexico, a third-gender community in Kerala—Gevisser explores how globalization, the Internet, and international development have brought clashing ideals of gender and sexuality into new configurations." --The New Yorker (Briefly Noted)

"Gevisser clearly shows the impact of large, sweeping tides of complex histories on specific people. This is where the strength of this book lies: letting people speak out for themselves against the wider political and social backdrop that Gevisser paints for the reader. 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 . . . a meticulously researched book." --Andrew McMillan, The Observer

"[Gevisser] approaches [his] task with bravura, care and deliberation . . . a virtue of The Pink Line is [Gevisser's] determination to let individuals speak for themselves and, critically, to respect the labels they choose." --Richard Canning, Literary Review

"Gevisser’s monumental effort in this global deep-think of a text outlines how much work remains ahead. This necessary, timely, intelligent book belongs in every library, the world over."--Booklist (starred review)

"The Pink Line makes impressive strides in chronicling distant and recent LGBT history and progress across the world. . . 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(starred review)

"Fascinating . . . a thoroughly researched picture of some very brave people around the world who are dealing with permutations of sexual identity in societies that feel threatened by gay liberation, not to mention the refusal of the male-female binary." --Andrew Holleran, Gay and Lesbian Review

"[An] expansive and deeply sourced inquiry . . . Gevisser’s non-Western point-of-view and exhaustive research provide essential perspective on the threads connecting gay, lesbian, and transgender communities worldwide. This impressive work is a must-read for anyone invested in social justice and LGBTQ rights." --Publishers Weekly

"In his expansive new undertaking, South African journalist Gevisser offers sharp insights into queer cultures throughout the world. . . Gevisser’s journalistic acumen and breadth of research are impressive. [A] solidly researched, important addition to queer studies." --Kirkus

Mark Gevisser is the author of A Legacy of Liberation: Thabo Mbeki and the Future of the South African DreamLost and Found in Johannesburg: A Memoir, and Portraits of Power: Profiles in a Changing South Africa, and The Pink Line: Journeys Across the World's Queer Frontiers, which FSG published in July 2020. He is also the coeditor of the pathbreaking anthology Defiant Desire: Gay and Lesbian Lives in South Africa. His journalism and commentary have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Granta, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications. The recipient of a 2012 Open Society Fellowship, he lives in Cape Town, South Africa.

Sarah Schulman is a novelist, nonfiction writer, playwright, screenwriter and AIDS historian. Her 20th book, LET THE RECORD SHOW: A Political History of ACT UP, NY 1987-1993, will be published by FSG in May.

Event date: 
Monday, October 5, 2020 - 8:00pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
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