Skip to content

We’re doing an important upgrade to our website. It will not take long, but will be unavailable on Monday 21st October for 15 minutes only from 04.30 BST/11.30 EDT

Register Sign in Wishlist

The End of Straight Supremacy
Realizing Gay Liberation

$31.99 (P)

  • Date Published: September 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521181044

$ 31.99 (P)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Rooted in the politics and theories of early gay liberation and radical feminism, Shannon Gilreath's The End of Straight Supremacy presents a cohesive theory of gay life under straight domination. Beginning with a critique of formal equality law, centering on the “like-straight” demands of liberal equality theory as highlighted in Lawrence v. Texas, Gilreath moves to criticize the gay movement itself, challenging the assimilation politics behind the movement's blithe acceptance of discrimination in the guise of free speech and pornography in the name of sexual liberation, as well as same-sex marriage and transsexuality as tools of straight hegemony. Ultimately, Gilreath rejects both the liberal demand for gay erasure in exchange for meager legal progress and the gay establishment agenda. In so doing, he provides both the vocabulary and analysis necessary to understand and to resist straight supremacy in all its forms. In The End of Straight Supremacy, Gilreath calls gays and their allies to the difficult task of rethinking what liberation and equality really mean.

    • Presents a critique of formal equality law and its failures, centering on the 'like-straight' demands of liberal equality theory
    • Defies both the liberal demand for gay erasure in exchange for meager legal progress and the gay establishment agenda
    • Critiques the gay movement itself, challenging the assimilation politics behind the movement's blithe acceptance of the liberal free speech absolutism
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    "A valiant and well-reasoned argument for gays and lesbians to reject outmoded templates, such as the traditional, patriarchal marriage or free-speech law that empowers bigots while doing little for reformers and radicals."

    - Richard Delgado
    University Professor of Law, Seattle University, author of Words that Wound

    "Readers: Beware. By admission, this book is both 'radical' and 'extreme.' It’s driven by a desire to map the converging distortions in law, politics, and society that make being gay—even openly gay, out and proud—an experience of in-authenticity. Piercing the world’s appearances to discover its truths, the book dreams of new modes of gay existence under social circumstances more nearly just than our own. If successful, it will stir some spirits from slumber, as conventional gay politics and life are brought under the pressure of complex and unrelenting critique. Agree or don’t, it’s impossible to engage this work without being jolted by its free thinking. One cannot read it and remain unmoved."

    - Marc Spindelman
    Professor of Law, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

    "Beautifully expressed and compellingly written, Gilreath has written one of the most important texts in gay and lesbian studies in recent memory. Shannon Gilreath not only revives gay liberation insights, but creatively combines them with queer theory to produce a genuinely new vision of sexuality. It is imperative reading for anyone who wants to understand LGBT issues and homophobia in the 21st century in an increasingly globalized world. I personally find Gilreath's concept of 'straight supremacy' particularly useful in contemplating the state of LGBT people and LGBT rights in the Muslim world."  

    - Hassan El Menyawi
    Middle-East human rights activist and Visiting Professor, the U N University for Peace 

    "This book makes brilliant, provocative, eloquent and unabashedly Radical and Feminist arguments concerning Gay liberation, equality, marriage, pornography, and transsexualism.  Shannon Gilreath takes his place as a flaming truth-teller in the magnificent company of those who, like Andrea Dworkin, brook no compromise with the oppressive system that Gilreath calls 'Heteroarchy,' those who, like Mary Daly, name and decry a system that aims to destroy lives, memory and the very being of the female/Gay Self, and those who, like Audre Lorde, know that the erotic is a form of power and that Radical liberated Gay sexuality is inseparable from liberated creativity and culture. Gilreath's arguments are powerfully moving, daring, urgent and essential."  

    - Jane Caputi
    Professor of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Florida Atlantic University Author of The Age of Sex Crime & Goddesses and Monsters

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2011
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521181044
    • length: 318 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.42kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The metaethics of gay liberation
    Part I. Equality and Making Meaning:
    2. Law/morality: thoughts on morality, equality, and caste
    3. Law/power: the appropriation of gay identity in Lawrence v. Texas - and the substantive alternative
    Part II. Equality, Sexuality, and Expression:
    4. Speech/hate propaganda: a comment on Harper v. Poway Unified School District
    5. Pornography/death: the problem of gay pornography in a straight supremacist system
    Part III. Millennial Equality: A Primer on Gay Liberation in the Twenty-First Century:
    6. Gay/straight: the binary ontology of the gay marriage debate
    7. Knowledge/power: reversing the heteroarchal reversals of religion, marriage, and caste
    8. Trans/sex: transsexualism, patriarchal ontology, and postmodern praxis
    9. Epilogue: flaming, but not burning.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Folklore and Sexuality
    • Foundations of Law ll
    • Intro to LGBTQ/NS Studies (or in Queer Studies)
    • Politics of LGBT Liberation
    • Sex & Equality
    • Sexuality and Society
    • Sociology of Gender
    • Women and the Law
  • Author

    Shannon Gilreath, Wake Forest University, North Carolina
    Shannon Gilreath is Professor for the Interdisciplinary Study of Law at the Wake Forest University School of Law and a member of the core faculty of the university's Women's and Gender Studies Program. He is the author of Sexual Politics: The Gay Person in America Today and of Sexual Identity Law in Context: Cases and Materials.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.