Journal of American History

Gay and Lesbians History

Nancy C. Unger

Santa Clara University

History 177

Gay Men and Lesbians in United States History

Why is it important for both homosexual and heterosexual Americans to understand the gay and lesbian history of our nation?

“If we do not know our own history, we are doomed to live it as though it were our private fate.” Hannah Arendt, political theorist

This course will examine the incredibly amorphous topic of homosexuality in American history. What is homosexuality? Did it exist prior to modern industrialization and urbanization? What’s the difference between homosexual acts and homosexuality? What’s the relationship between gay and lesbian history, Queer History, and Queer Theory?

We will trace the history of same-sex desire from the pre-Columbian period to the present within the larger, rich history of the changing social, economic, political, and intellectual life within the United States. Issues of gender, race, class, geographic setting, and ethnicity will merit appropriate attention. Through a variety of primary and secondary sources, we will examine self-conceptions and self-identifications of gay men and lesbians as well as the constructs of homosexuality and the resultant prescribed roles. The course is designed to familiarize you with the some of the best current scholarship in the field and challenge you to think critically about the role of homosexuality in American history and society. To take full advantage of the lecture/discussion format, regular attendance and informed participation are of the essence.

Course Requirements

Course requirements include a midterm, a final exam, and a research paper. Grades will be determined as follows:


Attendance will be taken frequently, since it figures into your final grade, and you are expected to attend every class. If you are hit by a bus, or have some other verifiable emergency, or have brought me to the appropriate paperwork from your sports’ team or other official SCU entity, your absence will be noted as excused. If you miss class for any reason, it is your responsibility to keep up to date with the course, which usually involves getting the notes you missed from a classmate and then letting me know if you have any questions about those notes. Do recognize that whether an absence is or is not excused, failure to attend class cannot help but negatively impact your ability to do your best in the class, and often this affects final grades.


Chit-chatting and sleeping in class: DON’T!!!! Making comments to fellow classmates is very distracting to others (especially me). The class only lasts 65 minutes—please wait until it is over to talk to your friends. If you missed a phrase or concept, please ask me, not your neighbor. If you feel yourself falling asleep in class, please get up, go home, and take a nap. You cannot learn anything while you are asleep and you’ll rest better in bed. Otherwise, TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONE and plan to stay in your seat the entire 65 minutes.

Please do not hesitate to ask me questions or make comments openly during class. If you don't understand something (whether from the book or a lecture) chances are excellent that others are also confused and could benefit from clarification. Your comments (not just questions) are also welcome and are valued as significant contributions. Some of the greatest teaching comes from in-class student comments. And as an added bonus, class participation does constitute 10% of your grade.

If you are interested in subscribing to H-HISTSEX, the email service that circulates book reviews, conference announcements, queries, etc., concerning the history of sexuality, here’s how you do it:

Go to

Look at the left hand column. Click “subscribe to a network”

Look at the left hand column. Click “subscribe” and follow the prompts

You can either get each email from H-histsex individually, or request that they come in a single mailing once a day. Click “manage your subscription” and mark “digest” for this option.

If you try this service for a few days, and decide you don’t like it, return to “manage your subscription” and, near the bottom, click “unsubscribe.”

If you have ANY questions or problems with this service, please let me know.

The reading packet was funded by a “Building Partnerships for Diversity” grant from the Center for Multicultural Learning


Both exams will be in essay form.

Mid-Term Exam

I will be giving you a sample exam before the midterm so you can see exactly what to expect. If you are uneasy about your essay writing ability, here is a suggestion: Prepare one or two answers from the sample exam or the discussion/review questions before the exam. I will gladly go over your essay with you individually and show you how to improve. After both exams I will make photocopies of the best answers available for reading in my office. Students have found these samples enormously helpful. Let me know of anything else you might think of to help you do your best.

Final Exam

It is violation of university policy to take a final exam at anything but the appointed hour on the appointed day. Please keep this in mind as you make your end-of-the-academic year travel plans, as our exam is on the LAST day of finals’ week.


Required Text

All readings are to be completed BY the date listed on the syllabus. This means you are to have completed ALL the readings listed by that date, to have thought about them, and to be prepared to provide meaningful commentary and/or questions. The discussion/study questions are designed to aid you in optimal use of the material.

Don’t wait until the night before this assigned reading in particular—we’ll do HUGE hunks, so read ahead!

Articles Packet

You are also required to read all of the articles compiled in the class packet, which were selected from the following books:

For the readings from the class packet: The numbers in brackets refer to the hand written page number at the bottom right hand corner of each page in the packet.


We will also see and discuss in class three films:


There are a number of student guides to the study of history that offer suggestions on note taking, writing reviews, studying, etc. If you think one might prove helpful to you, I recommend Jules R. Benjamin's A Student's Guide to History, 8th edition (2001). A particularly good guide to carrying out the research for the paper is The Information-Literate Historian: A Guide to Research for History Students (2006) by Jenny L. Presnell, and for writing the paper, particularly when it comes to proper citations of research, see Kate Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (1996).

Class Schedule

Jan. 8

Jan. 10

Jan. 12
Jan. 15
Jan. 17
Jan. 19
Jan. 22
Jan. 24
Jan. 26
Jan. 29
Jan. 31
Feb. 2
Feb. 5
Feb. 7
Feb. 9
Feb. 12
Feb. 14
Feb. 16
Feb. 19
Feb. 21
Feb. 26
Feb. 28
March 2
March 5
March 7
March 9
March 12
March 14
March 16
March 23

Finally—I realize that this course requires a great deal of effort. I give you the words of Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks’s character in A League of Their Own), who is responding to the resignation of his star baseball player because “it just got too hard”: “It’s SUPPOSED to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everybody would do it. The ‘hard’ makes it great.”

Research Paper Guidelines

This paper is an opportunity to indulge yourself in an in-depth look at virtually any aspect of gay and lesbian American history that appeals to you. You may conduct more conventional research—for example, a paper on a significant individual—or utilize the vast array of less conventional resources and/or less conventional topics available. You may focus on one particular historical period, or trace an idea or phenomenon across many periods within the century. If you are stuck for ideas, I am available for consultation and have a fairly extensive collection of G/L history sources in my office.

This is a HISTORY paper, not an analysis of current events! Therefore, the bulk of your paper should address HISTORICAL events occurring at least 10 years ago. There can be exceptions to this rule, however. See me if you have a particularly recent topic in mind. Bear in mind that you paper should utilize primary materials as extensively as possible. Ideally, you would all utilize the G/L archives in San Francisco, but considering the logistical problems as well as the limitations of a ten week quarter, I encourage you to consider the wealth of other primary sources more readily available.

Broad topics include the relationships between homosexuality and:

Still stuck for an idea? Consider the huge variety of primary source material available:

ALL of the above are only suggestions!! You by no means limited to this list!! Do check your ideas with me. I rarely refuse a project if a student is sincerely interested.

For additional ideas, do some browsing: Go to the Orradre home Web page and look at the “choose subject” menu on “research guides.” Click “Gender Studies” and you’ll find “Gay and Lesbian Studies—A Research Guide.” Or access it directly at

Also search in the database America: History and Life. Entering “homosexual,” “Lesbian,” or “gay men” will result in hundreds of scholarly articles. Browsing through the various entries allows you to get a sense of the vast amount of research being done on an incredible variety of topics. The bibliographies of the journal articles listed here are a gold mine of secondary and primary sources. Articles from the journals our library does not have will be delivered to you free of charge.

Do not submit the paper written for this class to another class for credit. If you have a similar assignment in another class and wish to work on a project that will fulfill the course requirements for both classes, please see me. If the other professor and I agree, your paper will need to be more in depth (around 15 pages of text). On the cover page, please note BOTH classes for which the paper has been submitted.

Select a topic that you will be able to adequately present in 8–10 pages of text with standard margins, exclusive of Bibliography and Footnotes. Keep in mind that this is a formal paper for an upper-division university course. I will provide you with samples of proper Footnotes and bibliographic entries. Footnotes must be in proper format for a history paper. You may place them either at the bottom of each page (remembering to indent the first line of each entry) or as endnotes, but they cannot be placed parenthetically within the text. You may wish to consult The University of Chicago Press' A Manual of Style or Kate Turabian's A Manual for Writers, for questions concerning proper writing, footnoting, bibliographic entries, etc. Another helpful tool is Jules R. Benjamin's A Student's Guide to History.

Proper spelling and grammar are essential and will constitute 50% of your paper’s grade. When in doubt, consult Kate Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. DO NOT JUSTIFY THE RIGHT HAND MARGIN! Do NOT use contractions (“don’t,” “won’t,” etc., are not acceptable—write out “do not,” “would not,” etc.) After initially referring to a person by his or her full name (“Mary Beth Norton”) subsequent references should be last name only (“Norton”). DO NOT QUALIFY YOUR REMARKS WITH THE USE OF “I.” Contrast the two following sentences: “I think lesbians gained important rights through this crucial legislation.” “Lesbians gained important rights through this crucial legislation.” Clearly the second statement is the more forceful and compelling one. Besides, the whole paper is what you think, so there is no need to be redundant.

Please do not enclose your paper in a binder or file. A staple will do.

When printing your paper, always run the spell checker. Each page of your paper must be numbered. Your paper must have a title. Titles are important—they tell the reader what the paper is about and should intrigue the reader. Dates should appear day first, then month, followed by year—with no commas in between: The battle began 12 May 1865, and did not end for many months.

The Bibliography should include not just the works cited within the paper, but ALL the works consulted.

Use quotations sparingly. The focus of the paper should be your interpretation of the evidence, not the evidence itself. Long quotes, if used at all, must be indented and single spaced. Unless the exact wording of the source is crucial, paraphrase rather than quote—but always remember to Footnote what you paraphrase. The period at the end of a quote appears inside the quotation marks: The Grand Canyon was “the greatest home the Indians ever knew.”1

Begin your paper by putting it into historiographic context. What has been said on this topic before, and by whom? (“The leading books on this subject are John Smith’s Gay Men in Drag (1995), and Joan Johnson’s Drag Queens in History (1974).” What are you saying that is new, or that substantially adds to what has already been said? (“Both Johnson and Smith focus almost exclusively on gay men in drag. This paper will focus primarily on the negative response this generated among feminists,” or, “While Johnson focuses on the emotional needs of men in drag and Smith on the changes in the legal repercussions of appearing publicly in drag, this paper will synthesize their two topics, revealing how one can be used to inform the other.”) Thus, your paper cannot be just a rehash or report on something already well known. You should be learning something new. This is a research paper, not a report!

Your written research proposal, including topic, tentative thesis, and working Bibliography, is due no later than is listed on your syllabus, but the sooner the better. A working Bibliography includes not only the sources you have in hand, but the sources you intend to consult. Required: In addition to listing all secondary sources (including at least two journal articles), specifically identify your primary sources.

Research papers turned in early will be evaluated and returned. Revised papers may be resubmitted for a higher grade. Such revisions are entirely optional. The sooner you can get a draft to me, the better. The last day to turn in a draft for revision is listed on your syllabus. The last day papers, including revised drafts, will be accepted is also listed on your syllabus. No papers will be accepted after that date. This quarter will FLY by, so map out your research agenda NOW!

Proper Footnotes and Bibliography

Considering the variety of styles used across the disciplines, there is a great deal of understandable confusion about the appropriate style for Footnotes and bibliographic entries. Papers for this class are to follow the model set forth in Kate L. Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations.


Author: John Hope Franklin. Title: The Biography of George Washington Williams. Place of publication: Chicago. Publisher: University of Chicago Press. Copyright date: 1985. Page number: 54.


1. John Hope Franklin, The Biography of George Washington Williams (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985), 54.

Bibliographic Entry

Franklin, John Hope. The Biography of George Washington Williams. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985.

Journal Article

Author: Nancy C. Unger. Article title: “The ’Political Suicide’ of Robert M. La Follette: Public Disaster, Private Catharsis. ” Journal: The Psychohistory Review. Volume: 21. Number: 3. Date: Winter 1993. Pages: 197–220. Page quoted: 213.


2. Nancy C. Unger, “The ’Political Suicide’ of Robert M. La Follette: Public Disaster, Private Catharsis, ” The Psychohistory Review 21 (Winter 1993): 213.

Bibliographic Entry

Unger, Nancy C. “The ’Political Suicide’ of Robert M. La Follette: Public Disaster, Private Catharsis. ” The Psychohistory Review 21 (Winter 1993): 197–220.

Newspaper Articles

Author: Tyler Marshall. Article Title: World War II Remembered. Newspaper: New York Times. Date: January 15, 1995. Section Number/Letter: B. Page Number: 7. Edition (morning or evening): M.


3. Tyler Marshall, “World War II Remembered, ” New York Times, 15 January 1995, B7(M).

Bibliographic Entry

Marshall, Tyler. “World War II Remembered. ” New York Times, 15 January 1995, B7(M).

Citation taken from a secondary source

Author you’re citing: Helen Hunt Jackson. Article Title: The Evolution of White Women’s Experience in Early America. Journal: American Historical Review. Volume: 14. Date: June 1984. Page number in that journal: 597. Author of Secondary Source: Mary Beth Norton. Title: Major Problems in American Women’s History. Place of Publication: Lexington, Massachusetts. Publisher D.C. Heath and Company. Date: 1989. Page: 43.


4. Helen Hunt Jackson, “The Evolution of White Women’s Experience in Early America, ” American Historical Review 14 (June 1984): 597, quoted in Mary Beth Norton, ed., Major Problems in American Women’s History (Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath and Company, 1989), 43.

Bibliographic Entry

Jackson, Helen Hunt. “The Evolution of White Women’s Experience in Early America. ”

American Historical Review 14 (June 1984): 590–598. Quoted in Mary Beth Norton, ed. Major Problems in American Women’s History, 42–47. Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath and Company, 1989.

World Wide Web

document. Author’s name: Joe Smith. Title of document: Eldrige Cleaver Title of Website: The Black Panther Homepage. Date of publication or most recent revision: May 13, 1999. URL: www.blackpanthers/blackhistory.htm. Date of access: September 23, 2001.


1[1]. Joe Smith, “Eldridge Cleaver,” The Black Panther Homepage, 13 May 1999, <http:www.blackpanters/blackhistory.htm> (23 Sep. 2001).


Smith, Joe. “Eldridge Cleaver.” The Black Panther Homepage 13 May 1999.<http:www.blackpanters/blackhistory.htm> (23 Sep. 2001).

From an electronic version of a newspaper

newspaper article found on Web. Author’s name: Chris Wren. Title of article: “A Body on Everest.” Newspaper: Bohunk News. Date of article: 22 July 1956. URL: Date of access: October 31, 2001.


[1]2. Chris Wren, “A Body on Everest,” Bohunk News online, 22 July 1956, <> (31 Oct. 2001).


Wren, Chris. “A Body on Everest.” Bohunk News online, 22 July 1956. <> (31 Oct. 2001).

IF YOU ARE USING THE NEW YORK TIMES on the web through SCU’s Orradre Library cite, or any other source that requires a subscription, there’s no need to put the whole online address. Simply follow the date of the story/article with New York Times, Proquest Historical Newspapers Online.

If you cite a source more than once in your Footnotes, the first time, you put the full citation:

5. John Hope Franklin, The Biography of George Washington Williams (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985), 54.

If you use that exact same page as your next Footnote:

6. Ibid.

If you use the same book, but a different page as your next Footnote:

7. Ibid., 32.

If you use that same book, but there are several other footnotes in between, use an abbreviated citation:

10. Franklin, Williams, 54.

When in doubt, consult Turabian!

Working Theses for History 177—Spring 2002

You do NOT have to hand this in, but mentally review this checklist before handing in your research paper:

Discussion and Review Questions

Desired Past pp. ix-11

Why bother reading the preface of this book—what is Rupp trying to establish here? Why was her Aunt Leila so special to her? Why should we care if this woman was a lesbian? What is a lesbian? Why does Rupp focus on “same-sex desire” rather than homosexuality?

Queer Theory reading

What makes a man a man and a woman a woman? What’s the difference between sex and gender and why does Queer Theory posit that even sex can be culturally created or influenced. How can gender identities be understood as “performances” or “simulations”? What’s the end goal of Queer Theory? Why have many lesbians and straight feminists opposed it? Why might Queer Theorists oppose a history course like ours, especially since sexual categories are as amorphous as racial ones? Are Gay and Lesbian History and Queer Theory mutually exclusive? If not, what does each have to gain from the other? Concerning homosexuality, what’s the difference between essentialism and constructionism? Who is Michel Foucault and why is he so important? Does all this debate about identity and constructed identities and culture matter in the real world?

Pre-Columbian Native Americans

What’s the problem with calling these Native Americans gay men and lesbians? What is Midnight Sun’s overriding thesis? Why is it so hard to know about pre-Columbian attitudes and practices? Why does Midnight Sun present three different case studies and what’s the significance of each? What does the role of production have to do with this?

Pre-colonial Africa

What’s Rupp’s point in “Out of Africa”? Why did Europeans make such a big deal about African same-sex sexuality? Why were Azande men less accepting of female same-sex relations than male ones? What is Cary Johnson’s goal? Why is his research into Africa important to us, in California today? What’s the problem with the phrase “precolonial African male homosexuality”? What was the role of economics in African homosexualities? Significance? What do these readings do to modern claims that homosexuality in among African Americans today is “unAfrican”?

Colonial America

What were colonial attitudes about homosexual acts? How common were they? Why was homosexuality known as the Italian vice and why is that significant? Why weren’t female homosexuals cruising public areas? Evaluate Godbeer’s two assumptions about homosexuality near the bottom of p. 93. How was “sodomy” defined and why was it illegal? What’s the significance of the 1677 trial of Nicholas Sension and the community’s response? What’s Rupp’s point about Thomas/Thomasina Hall (pp. 33-34)? How does this fit in with our earlier readings concerning Native Americans and Africans?

Homosexuality and Enslavement

What’s Charles Clifton’s gripe with John Blassingame’s critical analysis of previous slave historiography? What does Clifton mean by coded literature and what is he suggesting has been overlooked? Why would male slave owners rape their male slaves? Do you find Clifton’s evidence to be convincing? Do you agree that “all sexuality is situational and learned from social and cultural forces that vary over time and place”? If enslaved men were being raped, why was this significant in post Civil War America? Clifton concludes with a call for the study of the multiplicity of other sexual experiences within the enslaved community as yet unexplored by historians—like what? How is Clifton’s article an example of the value of gay/lesbian history to other aspects of historical inquiry?

Industrializing America in-class lecture

Assess the colonial period as the “Golden Age” for free Euro-American women. Describe the impact of the Cult of Domesticity on women and the impact of increasing industrialization on gender roles. What has all of this have to do with homosexuality, especially among women? (From readings) If, as Rupp says, the ideal woman was “inherently passionless,” how can she say that “the ideology of profound sexual difference, in conjunction with economic and social sex segregation, also encouraged same-sex love and sexuality”? (p. 41) What’s the nature of these female relationships she’s describing? Were these women actually having sex? And why would women “pass” as men? What are “Boston Marriages”? What’s the point of Rupp’s section on cowboys, miners, Mormons, and prostitutes? What evidence does she provide to support her theories? What do you make of the incident Rupp describes near the bottom of p. 65?

Sexual Transformation From the Turn of the Century Through the 1920s

What is a political lesbian, as described by Rupp on p. 74 and why is this such a problematic concept? What do you think of Lisa Duggan’s argument (bottom of Rupp p. 74) that religious tolerance, rather than civil rights based on race and gender, should be the model for gay and lesbian rights activists? Should sexual difference be seen as a form of dissent? What was the “medicalization” of homosexuality and what did the term “homosexual” mean in 1892? What is the impact of publicly defining homosexuality? (From lecture) Why was masculinity so prized during progressivism and how did this contribute to homophobia? (From readings) How does Mabel Hampton present life as a lesbian in New York? Significance? Why was the novel The Well of Loneliness so influential and significant? How were lesbians managing to be sexually active in notoriously conservative places like Salt Lake City, for heaven’s sake? (From lecture) Why was the murder trial of Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb so sensational and why is it significant within the study of gay/lesbian history?

The Great Depression

What caused the Great Depression and why is that significant to lesbian/gay history? Why was this period particularly repressive for lesbians? What do “Butch” and “Femme” mean and what is the significance of such role playing? What does Faderman mean by the “creation of a lesbian sub-culture”?

World War II

Why does Rupp begin this chapter with the story about how she hadn’t come out to her parents until 1993? Why was WWII such a powerful turning point—after all, there’d been other wars? Why were a disproportionate number of gay men in the military? Why did being a homosexual merit a dishonorable discharge? What had happened to men in the military who’d been accused of homosexual acts prior to WWII? What was Franklin Roosevelt’s role in the treatment of homosexuals by the military? How did psychiatrists view homosexuals and what did they prescribe? What is the significance of all the categories of homosexuality described in Berube p. 146? What is the significance of army psychiatrist William Menniger’s assertion, “Like any sick person, they deserve understanding instead of condemnation”? What’s the role of race in all this? How did the female homosexual experience within the military differ from the male?

Post War Activism/Cold War

Why was the period immediately following World War II so filled with promise for gay men and lesbians? What was the Cold War and what caused it? Why was fulfilling prescribed gender roles seen as so crucial during this period, and what was the impact of that belief on lesbians and gay men? What was the Kinsey Report? What did it reveal? When? Why was it so significant? How did both Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower help lay the groundwork for the persecution of homosexuals? Who is Harry Hay and why is his background significant? What was the Mattachine Society? Significance? Why is the entrapment trial of Dale Jennings considered so important? What was the military’s stance on homosexuality during the immediate post war period?

McCarthyism and Aftermath

Who was Joe McCarthy and why is he so significant? According to Lillian Faderman, what kind of lesbian subcultures emerged in the 1950s and 1960s? What role did class play in lesbian identities? What were Kikis and how and why did they differ from “butches” and “femmes”? What role did race play?

Cures (through p. 62)

Who is Martin Duberman and why does he begin by telling us the long story of his consultation with the gypsy fortune teller? What assumptions about homosexuality does Duberman bring to his own relationships? How does Duberman’s psychiatrist respond to Duberman’s homosexuality? What does he prescribe? With what results?

Celluloid Closet

How did popular film contribute to the self loathing of homosexuals like Martin Duberman? In the early days of film, how was homosexuality portrayed and why is this significant? How do the “talking heads” in this documentary respond to the images they’re describing and critiquing?

Cures (pp. 63-158)

What kind of major, sweeping changes are happening in the United States in 1962 (the year Duberman arrives at Princeton)? What did Irving Bieber’s book Homosexuality conclude? What was its impact on Duberman and why is this significant? Who was Frank Kameny and why were his actions so significant? What is the significance of the scene on p. 136 when Duberman’s mother gets her name in the paper? How does Duberman respond to all the challenges to traditional values going on around him? What happens when he and his therapist co-teach a course? So what?

Film Before Stonewall

What’s the difference between reading about these individuals and groups on the page and seeing them on film? How does this impact your understanding of lesbian and gay history?


Why is Faderman’s account of homosexual history so different from Duberman’s, covering the same period? According to Faderman, what were the organizing strategies of lesbians prior to Stonewall? What happened at Stonewall and what was its impact on gay men and lesbians? How do younger lesbians respond to the “accomodationist” strategies of the previous generation? If lesbian-feminists were such a tiny minority among lesbians, why does Faderman focus on them so extensively? What was Lesbian Nation and what were its goals? What ultimately led to its downfall?

Post-Stonewall (Cures pp. 158-301)

What was the immediate impact of Stonewall on Duberman? Why? What was the impact of the Gay Liberation Front on Duberman? Why is the exchange of letters between Duberman and his friends (pp. 248-250) so significant? On what kind of a note does Cures end? (from lecture) What factors led to the American Psychiatric Association dropping homosexuality from its list of pathologies? Who was Harvey Milk? John Briggs? Anita Bryant? What does Milk call for? Who was Dan White and what was the result of the Twinkie Defense? What was the significance of the gay and lesbian response? What is the ultimate significance of Harvey Milk to lesbian and gay history?

The 1980s

What Sex Wars is Lillian Faderman talking about? How did the lesbian sexual radicals and the cultural feminists differ? What is the significance of the rise of the bath house culture among many gay men? Why was there a shift to moderation among lesbians?

AIDS and Beyond

What is HIV? AIDS? Why were gay men so disproportionately the victims of this disease when it first swept the United States? What was the impact of that on society at large? On gay men? On lesbians? Why do so many men, particularly African American men, remain “on the down low” and why does it matter? Why is there so little literature on Latina lesbians and latino gays, and on Asian American homosexuals and other gays and lesbians of minority groups? Why does bell hooks use the word “communities” rather than “community” in her essay and what is the gist of her argument? What is the role of the African American church in promoting homophobia? What kinds of solutions does hooks propose? What is the significance of this 1979 address at the Washington Monument and what points are made about the unique status of Asian American gay men and lesbians? Why does Michiyo Cornell resent being part of the “model minority”? Eleven years later, what does the roundtable discussion among Asian American lesbians reveal?


What is Queer Nation all about? What does Faderman’s epilogue emphasize? What’s Vicki Eaklor conclude about all this? Film Celluloid Closet conclusion: in addition to evaluating the changing images of gays and lesbians on film within this documentary, think about lesbians and gay men have been depicted on film since the making of Celluloid Closet. Has there been a significant change? What ongoing challenges face homosexuals in America today? Should the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy be considered liberal or repressive or both? What does your understanding of gay and lesbian history contribute to your predictions concerning the issue of gay marriage? Has this course changed your views on the essentialist vs. constructionist explanations of homosexuality? What is Eaklor’s goal? What does she mean by obsolescence and what’s her point about post-modernism?


Diverse Surveys in American History


Gary J. Kornblith and Carol Lasser