The History of ‘Coming Out’, from Secret Gay Code to Popular Political Protest

Where the term comes from and how the meaning has changed. Introduction You probably know what it means to “come out” as gay. You may even have heard the expression used in relation to other kinds of identity, such as being undocumented. But do you know where the term comes from? Or that its meaning[…]

LGBTQ history in the United States since the 18th Century

LGBTQ history in the United States spans the contributions and struggles of individuals as well as the coalitions they’ve built. 18th and 19th Centuries With the establishment of the United States following the American Revolution, such crimes as “sodomy” were considered to be a capital offense in some states, while cross-dressing was considered a felony[…]

How the New York Media Covered the Stonewall Riots

The coverage of Stonewall is a reminder of what’s lost when alternative media outlets wither away. Introduction The Stonewall riots were a six-night series of protests that began in the early morning of June 28, 1969, and centered around the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City. Four days earlier, on June 24,[…]

The Lesbian South: Women in the Print Movement and the Queer Literary Canon

How lesbian authors have reinvented the imagined spaces of the U.S. South through print culture, activism, and intentional communities. Introduction The middle-aged man sitting in the row in front of me shoved his wife’s arm and pointed at two women. “See?!” he said, conspiratorially, derisively. I looked at my friend Cheryl and raised an eyebrow.[…]

‘Arena Three’: Britain’s First Lesbian Magazine

Looking at at how Britain’s first lesbian magazine came about and its impact on society. Introduction In 1958 the Homosexual Law Reform Society (HLRS) was founded in the wake of the Wolfenden Report, published on 4 September 1957. The society launched with a series of high profile advertisements in national newspapers and became a beacon[…]

Exploring the History of ‘Coming Out’

In the 1950s, ‘coming out’ meant acknowledging sexual orientation. Today, the term is used by a broad array of social movements. Introduction You probably know what it means to “come out” as gay. You may even have heard the expression used in relation to other kinds of identity, such as being undocumented. But do you[…]

Dardanella and Peter: What Does Microhistory Offer to the History of Sexuality?

During the past two decades, historians of twentieth-century Britain have delineated the landscape of a “modern sexual and gender regime.” What does a microhistorical approach, based upon the subjective experiences and writings of individuals, offer the history of sex and love in early twentieth-century Britain? This was the central question guiding research following the discovery,[…]