Browsing: History

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Secret City flips a light switch on, illuminating over six decades and eleven presidential administrations, from Roosevelt to Clinton. What’s shown is an epic story with a cast of thousands—well-known and forgotten, villains and victims. It’s a history of gay Washington, where the fear of blackmail and the rise of a vast national security apparatus during the Cold War years made being gay especially dangerous.

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A LETTER to the Editor in the January-February 2010 issue of this magazine sparked my interest in the Knights of the Clock, America’s first integrated gay and lesbian social club, founded in Los Angeles in the early 1950s. …

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WAS SHE or wasn’t she? Again, we face that vexing question regarding the lives of lesbians and gay men, in this case of Molly Dewson, who was known as “the General” in the era of the New Deal. Dewson is the subject of a book by historian Susan Ware that suddenly seems relevant, which prompted me to seek a conversation with the author of Partner and I: Molly Dewson, Feminism, and New Deal Politics (Yale 1987).

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ANNA HOWARD SHAW (1847–1919) aptly titled her autobiography The Story of a Pioneer because she was the consummate trailblazer. A poor immigrant, a frontier settler, an ordained female minister, a self-made woman in an age of self-made men, a renowned feminist orator and voting rights activist, she was also a lesbian whose orientation was hidden in plain sight. …

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THE LEGENDARY FEMINIST Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) is too often the silenced queer elephant in the room of U.S. history. As we observe the 200th anniversary of her birth, which was on February 15th, it’s important to ask ourselves whether we as a society are finally willing to see her not only as a heroic fighter for women’s suffrage but also as a lesbian.

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Disturbing Attachments shows how Genet’s troubling racist and non-egalitarian attitudes are matters that queer theory hasn’t fully dealt with. If the central tenet of queer theory is resistance to the normalization of power and the destabilization of categories like sex, gender, and identity, then Genet shows us how queer theory has more work to do.

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A 2015 book by Samuel G. Freedman, Dying Words: The AIDS Reporting of Jeff Schmalz and How It Transformed The New York Times, documents Schmalz’ profound effect on American print media. In a personal interview, Freedman, a professor at Columbia University and the “On Religion” columnist for The Times, discussed the atmosphere at the paper before Schmalz’ arrival.

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