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Deep, committed, and loving relationships across lines such as class, nation, sex, race, religion, ideology, ability, age, gender, and sexual orientation can help light the way toward a more equitable and just society. In Solidarity: Friendship, Family, and Activism Beyond Gay and Straight, by Lisa M. Tillmann, shows what being an ally requires, means, and does.

Tillmann’s first book, Between Gay and Straight: Understanding Friendship across Sexual Orientation, stemmed from her Ph.D. dissertation (1994-1998). The work chronicled Tillmann’s journey from small-town girl—heterosexually-identified and raised Catholic in the 1970s and 80s—to emotional, relational, and political ally to an urban network of gay male friends. The essays and website materials collected for In Solidarity demonstrate how Tillmann has mobilized the raised consciousness acquired along and since that journey in her continued research, campus and community advocacy and activism, teaching, and everyday life.

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Lisa M. Tillmann, Ph.D., is an activist researcher, social justice documentary filmmaker, and professor of Critical Media and Cultural Studies (CMC), a program she founded at Rollins College. Grounded in values of peace, equity, and justice, CMC examines the world’s most pressing issues and challenges and helps students envision ways to work toward change. On campus and in central Florida, Dr. Tillmann has participated in numerous activist initiatives, many centering on civil rights. She authored the book, Between Gay and Straight: Understanding Friendship across Sexual Orientation, produced the film Weight Problem: Cultural Narratives of Fat and “Obesity,” and co-produced the films Off the Menu: Challenging the Politics and Economics of Body and Food and Remembering a Cool September (about LGBT civil rights). Dr. Tillmann may be contacted at:


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The dialogic nature of Lisa Tillmann’s research manages to portray characters and communication as they unfold, portraying research for what it truly is: a meeting, a set of encounters. This work is a great example of all that is good about qualitative inquiry.

- Dr. Phillip Vannini, Professor, Communication and Culture, Royal Roads University

The commitment to friendship as method, and really as life choice, is astonishing. Your [Lisa Tillmann’s] work, writing, activism, and personal life are beautifully integrated in a way that makes sense to me as an aesthetic ethnographer/methodologist, activist. You model reflexivity. You model the struggle of ethical engagement around subject matter with profound material consequences. The manuscript is powerful and evocative. I found myself several times reading in public and wiping the tears from my eyes. I was transported.

- Anonymous Reviewer

LisaTillmann is a vulnerable, transparent, and talented ethnographer who demonstrates the importance of humanizing social research and who encourages us all to become more active in resisting social injustice. Her book will be an essential text for anyone interested in interpersonal communication, gender and identity, and critical qualitative research.

- Dr. Tony Adams, Professor, Bradley University, Author, Narrating the Closet: An Autoethnography of Same-Sex Attraction

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