LGBTQ history

  • Dangerous Records: Why LGBTQ Americans Today Fear the Weaponization of Bureaucracy

    by Emily Hand

    Requests made by Texas's Attorney General for information about gender change requests on drivers' licenses and other documents alarmed transgender advocates because the data could support an official list of trans Texans at a moment when the group faces public vilification. History shows that innocent bureaucratic records can be used oppressively.

  • How to Fight Back Against the Right's "Parents' Rights" Moral Panic

    by Jennifer Berkshire

    Parents' fears about losing control over their children have been the raw material for potent politically-motivated moral panics for a century and more. But those panics aren't irresistible, because parents everywhere still value public schools as democratic community institutions.  

  • Indiana's Kinsey Institute will Have to Carry on Without State Funds

    The pioneering research institute for the study of human sexuality has been a victim of the "groomer" moral panic; the legislator introducing the funding restrictions has called the late Alfred Kinsey a pedophile and suggested the institute was "hiding child predators." 

  • Let Us Now Praise R. DeSantis

    by Marc Stein

    "I can’t believe it’s taken this long to have a political leader take a stand against gender and sexuality!"

  • Shameful Echoes of the 1950s Lavender Scare

    by David K. Johnson

    At the height of the McCarthy era, a bipartisan congressional committee concluded that gay and lesbian personnel should be purged from government service because of the alleged "weakness of their moral fiber." Teaching this history could make students more able to recognize political moral panics today. 

  • Jeanne Manford's Support for her Gay Son was Revolutionary

    At the time Manford began publicly supporting her own gay son and organizing a group for other parents of gay children, 49 states had laws criminalizing gay sex; the scope and bravery of her activism is difficult to appreciate today. 

  • What Disney's Orange Bird Logo Says about Corporate Support and the LGBTQ Movement

    by Julio Capó, Jr.

    In the 1970s, Disney was much more willing to tolerate the anti-gay tirades of singer Anita Bryant, which previewed today's "groomer" accusations, because of a lucrative and politically expedient partnership with Florida's orange growers, suggesting movement power, not corporate benevolence, is driving change. 

  • Why Didn't 60 Minutes Push Back on MTG's "Pedophile" Smear?

    While Lesley Stahl responded that Democratic politicians aren't "pedophiles" or "groomers," historians Manisha Sinha and Brandy Schillace explain that the term has a longer and uglier history in campaigns to marginalize queer people and to use fears around sexual purity to justify oppression of outgroups. 

  • Gladys Bentley: Gender Outlaw

    by Cookie Woolner

    Gladys Bentley was one of the most popular speakeasy performers in prohibition-era New York, and used the performance category of "drag king" – women playing on stereotypes of masculinity – to be herself.