This is one of the first books on the movement written specifically for introductory students. Concise and balanced, it examines gay and lesbian liberation from three different perspectives: as a sexual freedom movement, as a political movement and as a movement of ideas. Separate chapters treat gay culture, lesbian feminism and conflicts and debates within the movement. Margaret Cruikshank describes the historical roots of contemporary gay and lesbian liberation, its links to other progressive movements, and the impact of AIDS. She analyses institutional homophobia and reviews legal issues in some of the major gay and lesbian rights cases including the 1986 US Supreme Court decision upholding sodomy laws. Unlike many other commentators, she assigns women a central role in the movement. She candidly discusses the movement's shortcomings and its dramatic successes. Margaret Cruikshank attacks injustice and offers examples of courageous responses, without resorting to polemic.