October 22 | 4 p.m. | STSS 230
Come hear Northeastern University Professor Suzanna Walters speak about her new book, The Tolerance Trap. Dr. Walters' book takes on received wisdom about gay identities and gay rights, arguing that we are not “almost there,” but on the contrary have settled for a watered-down goal of tolerance rather than a robust claim to comprehensive civil rights. Indeed, we tolerate unpleasant realities: medicine with strong side effects, a long commute, or an annoying relative. Walters shows how the low bar of tolerance demeans rather than ennobles both gays and straights alike. Her fascinating examination covers the gains in political inclusion and the persistence of anti-gay laws, the easy-out sexual freedom of queer youth, and the suicides and murders of those in decidedly intolerant environments. She challenges both “born this way” story lines, which root civil rights in biology, and “God made me this way” arguments, which similarly situate sexuality as innate and impervious to decisions we make to shape it.