Heather White’s Reforming Sodom is a bold and learned challenge to the notion that the rise of the gay and lesbian rights movement in the United States represented a triumph of secularism. On the contrary, she argues, gay activists drew on liberal Protestant thought, not merely intermittently or as a cudgel against fundamentalists, but as one of their most fundamental sources of inspiration.

Pulling together threads that have been already present in LGBTQ scholarship, White contends that historians of sexuality must take religion more seriously as a category of analysis. And she is indeed highly persuasive. “The untold story of Stonewall,” she argues, “is that a movement sparked by a bar raid held most of its meetings in churches” (p. 76). Indeed,...

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