A great deal of the research for this project has come from lesbian and gay archives. Scattered across the United States and Canada, they are treasure troves for historians of sexuality. Too few, however, know about their existence, but those who do have a deep passion for preserving the past. One of my best “finds” at ONE National Lesbian and Gay Archives in Los Angeles … Continue reading Reaching Out
This past week I met with Vancouver’s queer seniors writing collective Quirk-e to talk about a draft of an article I recently completed with the title: “Freak Wedding! Marriage as Postwar Lesbian Pleasure Practice.” The article was inspired by the headline of a 1957 tabloid story about a butch and fem lesbian wedding in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The question I ask in the article is … Continue reading Weird or Wonderful?
Last week I wrote about Troy Perry, founder of the Metropolitan Community Church. At the same time Perry was building his church in Los Angeles, Father Robert Clement, an ordained priest of the Old Catholic Church of America, was building his congregation in New York City. Also like Perry, Clement was an out and proud gay man. He famously participated in the June 1970 Stonewall march … Continue reading Father Robert Clement’s Holy Union
In the summer of 2011 I rode my motorcycle around the U.S. in search of pre-1980 evidence of same-sex marriage for my book Outlaws to In-Laws. I made stops at queer and lesbian and gay archives in Boston, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Caption: Me and Troy Perry. While in L.A. I met up with Troy Perry, founder of the Metropolitan Community Church … Continue reading Troy Perry and the Metropolitan Community Church
Archivists are the unsung heroes of the historical profession. They are made all the more special by the fact that in the lesbian and gay archives sector most are unpaid, or underpaid. Theirs is a true labor of love. Doing research in volunteer-run archives means that services can be patchy. You rely on the goodwill and good humor of others, and luck and happenstance can … Continue reading Unsung Heroes
I have always loved giving public talks. I love the challenge of writing a compelling narrative, and I love the rush of energy I get from an attentive audience who is usually pleased, sometimes even thrilled, to learn something new about queer history. Occasionally someone approaches me after a presentation with a story to share. Just such a thing happened this past week. I participated … Continue reading Crime Doesn’t Pay
[click for larger] The headline says it all. In the 1950s, lesbians were “freaks.” This was especially true of butch women who adopted a masculine working-class style. Their style alone communicated volumes: I will not conform to society’s rules; I will not be a “proper” woman; I am a sexually desiring being, and my desire is directed toward women, especially feminine women. When I first … Continue reading FREAK WEDDING! BRIDEGROOM IS A GIRL