SOCIAL SCIENCES

The Queering of Corporate America: How Big Business Went from LGBTQ Adversary to Ally

Beacon. Nov. 2019. 256p. notes. index. ISBN 9780807026342. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9780807026359. SOC SCI
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From policies of explicit discrimination in the 1970s to fighting against today’s backlash against sexual minorities, especially the transgender community, a lot has changed in terms of how corporate sponsors support gay pride—and how it has become commercialized. How and why? Ball (law, Rutgers Univ.) answers these questions by interweaving narrative with analysis, making it clear that change does not happen by chance when it comes to corporate culture in America. Factors such as the role of activists in challenging discrimination, the pressure put on pharmaceutical companies at the height of the AIDS crisis, and the necessity of partnership benefits before Obergefell v. Hodges combine to provide a full business history. The story is brought up-to-date in documenting the role of corporate allies to the LGBTQ community in working together to pressure government not to cave to religious groups trying to stifle gay rights. Ball sees corporate engagement with the community as being an important contributor to the way forward.
VERDICT The underlying question remains: Are corporations friends or foes? Ball’s history is sure to be controversial and will be of interest to social activists of all stripes.

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