Blake Wood
Publish Date

University of Illinois Springfield Political Science Professor Jason Pierceson’s book, “Before Bostock: The Accidental LGBTQ Precedent of Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins,” is the co-recipient of the inaugural LGBTQ+ Politics Best Book Award from the Sexuality and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association (APSA).

According to APSA, the LGBTQ+ Politics Best Book Award is given annually to a book published in the preceding calendar year that addresses LGBTQ+ politics.

“I am honored to be the co-recipient of the inaugural book award from the Sexuality and Politics Section of APSA,” Pierceson said. “It is gratifying to be rewarded by peers for one’s work.”

According to the University Press of Kansas summary of the book, in 2020 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County, in a six-to-three decision with a majority opinion authored by conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch, that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. The decision was a surprise to many, if not most, observers, but as Pierceson explores in his book, it was not completely unanticipated. The decision was grounded in a recent but well-developed shift in federal jurisprudence on the question of LGBTQ+ rights that occurred around 2000, with gender identity claims faring better in federal court after decades of skepticism.

Pierceson examines the groundbreaking decision through the legal path created by the Civil Rights Act and the interpretation of the word “sex” over time. Focusing on history, courageous LGBTQ+ plaintiffs, and the careful work of legal activists, “Before Bostock” illustrates how the courts can expand LGBTQ+ rights when legislators are more resistant, and it adds to the understanding about contemporary judicial policymaking in the context of statutory interpretation.

The work is available for purchase in hardcover or as an ebook from the University Press of Kansas.