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A queer history of the United States /Michael Bronski.

Collection Type
Bronski, Michael.
Boston : Beacon Press
Publisher Series
ReVisioning American history
Revisioning American history.
1. The persecuting society -- 2. Sexually ambiguous revolutions -- 3. Imagining a queer America -- 4. A democracy of death and art -- 5. A dangerous purity -- 6. Life on the stage / life in the city -- 7. Production and marketing of gender -- 8. Sex in the trenches -- 9. Visible communities / invisible lives -- 10. Revolt / backlash / resistance.
Using numerous primary documents and literature, as well as social histories, the book takes the reader through the centuries, from Columbus' arrival and the brutal treatment the Native peoples received, through the American Revolution's radical challenging of sex and gender roles, to the violent, and liberating, 19th century, and the transformative social justice movements of the 20th. In the 1620s, Thomas Morton broke from Plymouth Colony and founded Merrymount, which celebrated same-sex desire, atheism, and interracial marriage. Transgender evangelist Jemima Wilkinson, in the early 1800s, changed her name to "Publick Universal Friend," refused to use pronouns, fought for gender equality, and led her own congregation in upstate New York. In the mid-nineteenth century, internationally famous Shakespearean actor Charlotte Cushman led an openly lesbian life, including a well-publicized "female marriage." And in the late 1920s, Augustus Granville Dill was fired by W.E.B. Du Bois from the NAACP's magazine The Crisis after being arrested for a homosexual encounter. These are just a few moments of queer history that the author highlights in this book. It looks at how American culture has shaped the LGBT, or queer, experience, while simultaneously arguing that LGBT people not only shaped but were pivotal in creating our country. It is more than a "who's who" of queer history: it is a book that radically challenges how we understand American history. Drawing upon primary documents, literature, and cultural histories, the author, a noted scholar and activist charts the breadth of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history, from 1492 to the 1990s, and has written a testament to how the LGBT experience has profoundly shaped our country, culture, and history. The book abounds with examples of unknown or often ignored aspects of American history, the ineffectiveness of sodomy laws in the colonies, the prevalence of cross-dressing women soldiers in the Civil War, the impact of new technologies on LGBT life in the nineteenth century, and how rock music and popular culture were, in large part, responsible for the devastating backlash against gay rights in the late 1970s. Most striking, the author documents how, over centuries, various incarnations of social purity movements have consistently attempted to regulate all sexuality, including fantasies, masturbation, and queer sex. Resisting these efforts, same-sex desire flourished and helped make America what it is today. More than anything, it is not so much about queer history as it is about all American history, and why it should matter to both LGBT people and heterosexuals alike. It is an engrossing and revelatory history that will make readers appreciate just how queer America really is.
xx, 287 p. ; 24 cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
0807044393 (hardback)
9780807044391 (hardback)
Call Number
Stacks HQ76.3.U5 B696 2011
Descriptive terms
Gays History.
Homosexuality History.
Homosexuality Miscellanea.
United States