Book by Susan Marine
Review by Kate Snider
CCPS Advising Center
Grand Valley State University

Susan Marine’s book, Stonewall’s legacy: Bisexual, gay, lesbian, and transgender students in higher education, is an overview of bisexual, gay, lesbian, and transgender (BGLT) students in higher education during the last forty years— in the wake of the Stonewall movement. The Stonewall movement began in 1969 in New York City’s West Greenwich Village. A riot started outside of the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar, when police raided the bar and arrested some of its employees and patrons. The riot started the same night as the raid and continued the next day until the police came back to disperse the growing crowd of roughly two thousand people. This event is said to be the beginning of the movement for BGLT rights in America.

The book is an all-in-one companion for anyone who works in higher education because it provides a short account of almost any information one would need to know about BGLT students. It gives helpful insight into this group of students and provides information that student affairs professionals may be afraid to ask. It is particularly helpful to know the historical significance of this group of students in order to help BGLT students in their coming out process.

Marine’s book is an easy read and is only 152 pages long. Marine does a good job of diving right into the meat of the matter by describing the history of BGLT students in higher education, describing why educators need to learn more about this population, and giving practical tips for improving the campus climate in order to improve these students’ experiences.

While Marine does offer some advice for improving the campus climate for BGLT students, especially transgender students, the advice is sparse. This book may be too basic for someone who wants in-depth knowledge and suggestions related to improving the college campus for BGLT students. Secondly, the book offers no advice specific to academic advising, but solely surface information that is left to the reader to interpret how to use in their respective position.

The chapter about transgendered students (p. 59) is extremely valuable because often times the tendency is to lump transgendered students with BGL students and they are not always having the same experience. As Marine said, “…it is equally critical not to presume that being transgender is the same thing as being bisexual, gay, or lesbian or even that a necessarily dependent relationship exists between those who identify as being BGL and those who are T (Califia, 1997) (p. 61).”  The section of this book about the BGLT campus resource center (p. 81) could also be very valuable to student affairs professionals because it provides an overview of their purpose and how they help improve the campus climate for BGLT students.

Overall this book could be a great resource and a quick read for anyone working in higher education, especially those who want to learn more about BGLT students. However, this book is more like an introduction to BGLT students and doesn’t provide in-depth knowledge on this subject area. Similarly, the book provides great information about BGLT students on a college campus, but doesn’t offer any advice specifically for academic advising.

Stonewall’s legacy: Bisexual, gay, lesbian, and transgender students in higher education. (2011). Book by Susan B. Marine. Review by Kate Snider. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 152 pp. $29.00. ISBN # 978-1-1181-8016-7

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