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Social Science Gay Studies

Queer Progress

From Homophobia to Homonationalism

by (author) Tim McCaskell

Between the Lines
Initial publish date
Sep 2016
Gay Studies, Lesbian Studies, Urban, Post-Confederation (1867-)
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2016
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How did a social movement evolve from a small group of young radicals to the incorporation of LGBTQ communities into full citizenship on the model of Canadian multiculturalism?

Tim McCaskell contextualizes his work in gay, queer, and AIDS activism in Toronto from 1974 to 2014 within the shift from the Keynesian welfare state of the 1970s to the neoliberal economy of the new millennium. A shift that saw sexuality —once tightly regulated by conservative institutions—become an economic driver of late capitalism, and sexual minorities celebrated as a niche market. But even as it promoted legal equality, this shift increased disparity and social inequality. Today, the glue of sexual identity strains to hold together a community ever more fractured along lines of class, race, ethnicity, and gender; the celebration of LGBTQ inclusion pinkwashes injustice at home and abroad.

Queer Progress tries to make sense of this transformation by narrating the complexities and contradictions of forty years of queer politics in Canada’s largest city.

About the author

Tim McCaskell is a long-time gay activist. He worked on The Body Politic, the Right to Privacy Committee after the 1981 police raids on gay baths, the Simon Nkodi Anti-Apartheid Committee, AIDS ACTION NOW! and Queers Against Israeli Apartheid. His first book, Race to Equity, a history of the struggle for equity in Toronto public schools, is widely used in teacher education. Tim is also the author of Queer Progress: From Homophobia to Homonationalism.

Tim McCaskell's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“This is a sobering, painful, and often humorous chronicle, which brutally questions the business of externally imposed “development” with scant attention to cooperation in Africa and elsewhere. This is not a book to read and put away. Every line matters and demands action.”

environmental justice advocate and author of To Cook a Continent: Destructive Extraction and the Climate Crisis in Africa

“Jacques Claessens gives us an insider’s rich account of how “international development” actually works or, often, fails to work. With humor and colorful anecdotes, Claessens shows how the lack of real consultation can squander funds and opportunities, leaving little behind. This is a must-read for anyone interested in the genuine advancement of the world’s poor.”

Institute of African Studies, Columbia University

Chosen as a Quill & Quire favourite release of the year!

The fastest 500-pages of non-fiction I’ve read in a long time. Tim McCaskell goes beyond a historical or theoretical account of the strange transformation that characterize queer politics in Canada, and actually teases out the mechanics of those changes. He grounds his thorough breakdown of these movements with playful anecdotes and clear, concise political analysis.

Quill & Quire

“Change a few names, places, and organizations, and most development professionals will recognize their colleagues and field acquaintances in the colourful cast of characters Claessens weaves into his narrative about the vagaries of international development work. This engagingly written insider story is a must-read for those who may never visit the field themselves, but who are ardent consumers of international development marketing spin—the kind of spin used to raise funds to pay for more of the same kinds of blunders that Claessens documents.”

associate professor of anthropology, Burman University and author of The Development Trap: How Thinking Big Fails the Poor

Queer Progress is an essential book, one I would especially recommend to American readers, who – dare I say it? – are often incapable of seeing past their own borders.

Gay & Lesbian Review

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