Research on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) movements has accelerated in recent years. We take stock of this literature with a focus on the United States. Our review adopts a historical approach, surveying findings on three protest cycles: gay liberation and lesbian feminism, queer activism, and marriage equality. Existing scholarship focuses primarily on oscillations of the movement's collective identity between emphasizing similarities to the heterosexual mainstream and celebrating differences. We contrast earlier movement cycles mobilized around difference with efforts to legalize same-sex marriage. Our review highlights the turning points that led to shifts in protest cycles, and we trace the consequences for movement outcomes. Scholarship will advance if researchers recognize the path-dependent nature of social movements and that sameness and difference are not oppositional, static, or discrete choices. We conclude by recommending directions for future research.


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