Synopses & Reviews
A groundbreaking look at how the issues of sexuality and gender identity divide and unite the world today
More than seven years in the making, Mark Gevisser’s The Pink Line: Journeys Across the World’s Queer Frontiers is an exploration of how the conversation around sexual orientation and gender identity has come to divide — and describe — the world in an entirely new way over the first two decades of the 21st century. No social movement has brought change so quickly and with such dramatically mixed results. While same-sex marriage and gender transition are celebrated in some parts of the world, laws are being strengthened to criminalize homosexuality and gender nonconformity in others. As new globalized queer identities are adopted by people across the world — thanks to the digital revolution — fresh culture wars have emerged. A new Pink Line, Gevisser argues, has been drawn across the globe, and he takes readers to its frontiers.
Between sensitive and sometimes startling profiles of the queer folk he’s encountered along the Pink Line, Gevisser offers sharp analytical chapters exploring identity politics, religion, gender ideology, capitalism, human rights, moral panics, geopolitics, and what he calls “the new transgender culture wars.” His subjects include a Ugandan refugee in flight to Canada, a trans woman fighting for custody of her child in Moscow, a lesbian couple campaigning for marriage equality in Mexico, genderqueer high schoolers coming of age in Michigan, a gay Israeli-Palestinian couple searching for common ground, and a community of kothis—“women’s hearts in men’s bodies” — who run a temple in an Indian fishing village. What results is a moving and multifaceted picture of the world today, and the queer people defining it.
Eye-opening, heartfelt, expertly researched, and compellingly narrated, The Pink Line is a monumental — and urgent — journey of unprecedented scope into 21st-century identity, seen through the border posts along the world’s new LGBTQ+ frontiers.
"[Gevisser] approaches [his] task with bravura, care and deliberation....a virtue of The Pink Line is [Gevisser's] determination to let individuals speak for themselves and, critically, to respect the labels they choose." Richard Canning, Literary Review
"This is a valuable book not only for the quality of Gevisser’s analysis and the scope of his research, but because he spends a good deal of time with the people on whose lives he focuses....he renders them in all their complexity." Colm Tóibín, The Guardian
"Extraordinary...a hugely ambitious and exceptional work of long-form journalism....What elevates the book is Gevisser’s poetic and queer gaze, his searching language about why he has dedicated almost a decade of his life to understanding a generational transformation." Bilal Qureshi, The Washington Post
About the Author
Mark Gevisser is the author of A Legacy of Liberation: Thabo Mbeki and the Future of the South African Dream, Lost and Found in Johannesburg: A Memoir, and Portraits of Power: Profiles in a Changing South Africa. He is also the coeditor of the pathbreaking anthology Defiant Desire: Gay and Lesbian Lives in South Africa. His journalism and commentary have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Granta, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications. The recipient of a 2012 Open Society Fellowship, he lives in Cape Town, South Africa.