In the twentieth century, countless Americans claimed gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender identities, forming a movement to secure social as well as political equality. This collection of essays considers the history as well as the historiography of the queer identities and struggles that developed in the United States in the midst of widespread upheaval and change.
Whether the subject is an individual life story, a community study, or an aspect of public policy, these essays illuminate the ways in which individuals in various locales understood the nature of their desires and the possibilities of resisting dominant views of normality and deviance. Theoretically informed, but accessible, the essays shed light too on the difficulties of writing history when documentary evidence is sparse or "coded." Taken together these essays suggest that while some individuals and social networks might never emerge from the shadows, the persistent exploration of the past for their traces is an integral part of the on-going struggle for queer rights.
"This important collection brings together classic essays with new scholarship in a bold effort to reconfigure the field of lesbian and gay history. Lucid and comprehensive, the book will appeal not just to scholars and students, but to a crossover audience of general readers." —Paula Martinac, author of The Queerest Places: A Guide to Gay and Lesbian Historic Sites
"This book is recommended for the queer and unqueer alike. Not only comprehensive and engaging, it also marks an important step in the ongoing effort to define and illustrate the idea of queer scholarship." —Committee on Gay and Lesbian History
"(T)his collection offers a more complicated portrayal of the middle of the century, the years between the depression of the 1930s and the social and political revolutions of the 1960s." —The Journal of American History
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