1st Edition

In Solidarity Friendship, Family, and Activism Beyond Gay and Straight

By Lisa Tillmann Copyright 2015
    240 Pages
    by Routledge

    340 Pages
    by Routledge

    In Solidarity: Friendship, Family, and Activism Beyond Gay and Straight shows what being an ally (in this case to LGBTQ+ persons and communities) requires, means, and does. Through prose, poetry, performance text, and film, the work takes readers inside relationships across sexual orientation and serves as an exemplar of activist scholarship. In Solidarity makes a unique and compelling contribution to courses on LGBTQ+ studies, sexualities, gender, identity, relationships, or the family.

    Part I: Going Home: Gay Men’s Identities, Families, and Communities 1: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Coming Out in an Alcoholic Family 2: Father’s Blessing: Ethnographic Drama, Poetry, and Prose 3: Passings 4: Revisiting Don/ovan Part II: Loving Friends, Just Friends: Emotions, Ethics, and Politics of Ally-LGBTQ+ Relationships 5: Remembering a Cool September: Pain, Prejudice, and Patriotism 6: State of Unions: Politics and Poetics of Performance 7: Deadline: Ethics and the Ethnographic Divorce 8: Build a Bridge Out of Her 9: Wedding Album: An Anti-Heterosexist Performance Text 10: In Solidarity: Collaborations in LGBTQ+ Activism, co-authored with Kathryn L. Norsworthy


    Lisa M. Tillmann, Ph.D., is an activist researcher, social justice documentary filmmaker, and professor of Critical Media and Cultural Studies, a program she founded at Rollins College. She has participated in numerous activist initiatives, many centering on LGBTQ+ civil rights. She authored the book, Between Gay and Straight: Understanding Friendship across Sexual Orientation, produced the film Weight Problem: Cultural Narratives of Fat and "Obesity," and co-produced the films Off the Menu: Challenging the Politics and Economics of Body and Food and Remembering a Cool September.

    Lisa Tillmann’s In Solidary: Friendship, Family, and Activism Beyond Gay and Straight is an impassioned, poetic, and beautifully compelling call to be an ally in the struggle for racial, class, national, religious, ableist, gender and queer equality. A valuable resource for teachers, students, and activists in Communication, LGBTQ+ , Gender, and Women’s Studies, Cultural Studies, In Solidarity embodies the personal, relational, and political commitment to social justice that it seeks to inspire in us all.

    -Stacy Holman Jones, Communication Studies, California State University, Northridge

    Tillmann's excellent ​book explains qualitative methods such as autoethnography, interviewing, and participant observation, by offering compelling examples of each.  It provides cutting edge forays into poetry, friendship as method, and collaborative and activist scholarship.  Tillman makes qualitative research come alive because she invites you into her life as well as into the world of scholarship.

    -Lynn H. Turner, Communication Studies, Marquette University

    Dr. Tillmann is a vulnerable, transparent, and relationally-mindful ethnographer who takes as her focus the personal, familial, and cultural injustices that many LGBQ persons encounter in everyday life. An important text for courses on interpersonal communication, social activism, queer studies, and critical qualitative research. 

    -Tony E. Adams, author of Narrating the Closet: An Autoethnography of Same-Sex Attraction

    Story, poetry, video, performance scripts, and prose are lovingly composed by a front line LGBTQ+ activist, scholar, teacher, filmmaker, writer, and friend. Interpretive and critical, creative and aesthetic, personal and collaborative, passionate and vulnerable, sensitizing and mobilizing, this text will break hearts and break open minds—of teachers and students, those who identify as LGBTQ+  and their (potential)  allies—and then empower readers to put hearts back together and use understanding and empathy to DO something in solidarity.

    -Carolyn Ellis, Communication, University of South Florida

    In this panoramic and intimate book, Lisa Tillmann invites readers into the lives of actual families, friends, and romantic partners living the personal and political challenges of relationships spanning sexual orientations.  Lisa is a narrator, poet, character and fellow traveler, a vulnerable target of others’ responses, a partner, friend, diligent questioner, and always a reflective guide. This engaging text vividly demonstrates how creative scholarly work can inspire and model genuine dialogue.

    -William K. Rawlins, Stocker Professor of Communication Studies, Ohio University

    Lisa Tillmann shows what it means to be both a compassionate researcher and a cultural critic, and to maintain an unwavering commitment to the struggle for social justice for LGBT people over the course of two decades.  Weaving a tapestry of poetry, politics, and performative writing, Tillmann gives researchers and students a rare glimpse into how our ethnographic projects change the people we study.  Refusing to shy away from interviewing people who hold opposing beliefs, Tillmann uses friendship as method to reveal the sham, humiliation, resistance, and secrecy endured by members of the families she studied, both those who have come out and those to whom they came out.  In the process, she produces a therapeutic and healing text, one that gives us hope and optimism that the future will indeed be better than the past.  I highly recommend In Solidarity for courses on family communication, activist research, social justice and cultural/critical studies.

    -Arthur Bochner, Communication, University of South Florida