(Photo Credit: Martha Hoelzer)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — On Feb. 15, 6:30 p.m., at Aldersgate’s Fellowship Hall, 3800 Shamrock Dr., Andrew Reynolds, Ph.D., author of “The Children of Harvey Milk: How LGBTQ Politicians Changed the World,” will discuss his latest book.

Reynolds is a professor of political science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He founded and directs the UNC LGBTQ Representation and Rights Research Initiative, a global think tank addressing LGBTQ politics. His work has been featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian, New Statesman and more. The themes of his 12 non-fiction books range from elections to the future of democracy.

“The Children of Harvey Milk” was published by Oxford University Press last November. Part political thriller, part meditation on social change and part love story, the book introduces readers to some LGBTQ men and women who risked everything to make their voices heard during the ongoing struggle for equal rights.

Reynolds’ research included interviews with nearly 100 elected officials and high-profile candidates from his native UK, the United States, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean about their choice to be openly LGBTQ in office. Publishing 40 years after Milk’s assassination, the book reveals the extent to which LGBTQ individuals have served as catalysts for social change. Milk, a member of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors, was the first person in America to make being openly gay the central focus of his campaign.

In a Nov. 1, 2018 interview with WUNC 91.5, Reynolds commented on the inevitability of openly LGBTQ politicians becoming spokespeople for gay rights, sometimes reluctantly: “Barney Frank for many years didn’t want to be the ‘gay’ politician. He wanted to be a politician. But at the same time, he and others inevitably are the one voice in the room for that community that’s struggling.”

The book has won praise from a number of influencers. Houston’s Mayor, Annise Parker, who also serves as president of LGBTQ Victory, said it “will become a key reference on the history of our movement.” Jim Obergefell, plaintiff in Obergefell v. Hodges, said it’s filled with “inspiring stories of people courageous enough to say ‘This is who I am.’”

The event It is an outgrowth of Aldersgate’s mission to be an inclusive, continuing care retirement community that offers all elders access to retirement living and all levels of continuing care.

“Our mission calls us to honor the dignity of every individual, regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or any diversity dimension,” said Suzanne Pugh, president and CEO. “Our mindset has always been to be intentional about inclusion.”

The event is open to the public, but seating is limited. Advance registration is required and is available online. A reception and book signing in The Rose and The Ivy Pub at Aldersgate will follow the discussion.

Park Road Books will have hardback copies of “Children of Harvey Milk” available at the event for sale.

Aldersgate earned platinum status — the highest level possible — last August from SAGECare, the training and consulting division of New York-based SAGE (Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders), becoming the first continuing care retirement community on the East Coast to do so.

info: aldersgateccrc.com. (Photo Credit: Martha Hoelzer)

Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.