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The Queerness of Home: Gender, Sexuality, and the Politics of Domesticity after World War II Cover Image
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Vider uncovers how LGBTQ people reshaped domestic life in the postwar United States.

From the Stonewall riots in 1969 to the ACT UP protests of the 1980s and ’90s, histories of queer and trans politics have almost exclusively centered on public activism. In The Queerness of Home, Stephen Vider shifts the focus inward, showing that the intimacy of domestic space has been equally crucial to the history of postwar LGBTQ life.

Beginning in the 1940s, LGBTQ activists looked more and more to the home as a site of connection, care, and cultural inclusion. Long portrayed as quintessential outsiders, LGBTQ people creatively reconfigured the American household to make room for their romantic and sexual relationships and communities. They struggled with the conventions of marriage, challenged the gendered codes of everyday acts like cooking, resisted isolation by reimagining the home’s architecture, and contested the racial and class boundaries of kinship and belonging through communes, shelters, and caregiving networks. Retelling LGBTQ history from the inside out, Vider reveals the surprising ways the home became, and remains, a charged site in battles for social and economic justice. LGBTQ people not only realized new forms of community and culture for themselves—they remade the possibilities of home life for everyone.

About the Author

Stephen Vider is assistant professor of history and director of the Public History Initiative at Cornell University.

Praise For…

The Queerness of Home is a consequential achievement. Like any historian worth their salt, Vider knows how to tell a tale: this book’s prose is witty and clear as a mountain stream. More than that, it makes an irrefutable case that twentieth-century domestic environments have been momentous for LGBTQ individuals in the modern United States.”
— Scott Herring, author of The Hoarders: Material Deviance in Modern American Culture
Product Details
ISBN: 9780226808369
ISBN-10: 022680836X
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication Date: November 1st, 2021
Pages: 304