The Pink Line (Hardcover)
Journeys Across the World's Queer Frontiers
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 9780374279967, 544pp.
Publication Date: July 28, 2020
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 five years in the making, Mark Gevisser’s The Pink Line: Journeys Across the World’s Queer Frontiers is a globetrotting exploration of how the human rights frontier 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 is celebrated in some parts of the world, laws are being strengthened to criminalize homosexuality and gender nonconformity in others. A new Pink Line, Gevisser argues, has been drawn across the world, and he takes readers to its frontiers.
In between sharp analytical chapters about culture wars, folklore, gender ideology, and geopolitics, Gevisser provides sensitive and sometimes startling profiles of the queer folk he’s encountered on the Pink Line’s frontiers across nine countries. They include a trans Malawian refugee granted asylum in South Africa and a gay Ugandan refugee stuck in Nairobi; a lesbian couple who started a gay café in Cairo after the Arab Spring, a trans woman fighting for custody of her child in Moscow, and a community of kothis—“women’s hearts in men’s bodies”—who run a temple in an Indian fishing village.
Eye-opening, moving, and crafted with expert research, compelling narrative, and unprecedented scope, The Pink Line is a monumental—and vital—journey through the border posts of the world’s new LGBTQ+ frontiers.
About the Author
Praise For The Pink Line: Journeys Across the World's Queer Frontiers…
"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)
"[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
"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, Gevisser is a clear-sighted, fearless, and generous guide." —Andrew Solomon, author of Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity
“Mark Gevisser's The Pink Line is a book I've been waiting a long time for: a global geography of queer struggle, a wide-ranging, open-hearted, beautifully told account of the radically various state of 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 and Cleanness
"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
“Mark Gevisser's sensitive yet firmly broad book 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, author of The Cosmopolitans
“No one understands queerness from an armchair — and few have captured that truth better than Mark Gevisser. The Pink Line is a vital exploration of queerness around the globe, searching and intimate but also expansive in its scope. Like all the best writing about LGBTQ lives, this book clearly changed its author. It would be impossible not to be transformed by the reading of it.” —Samantha Allen, author of Real Queer America: LGBT Stories from Red States
"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 K. Bhabha, author of The Location of Culture