Out of the Closet and Into Print: Gay Liberation across the Anglo-American World

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de Groot, Scott
gender history , social movements , the history of sexuality , gay liberation
Intersections between gay liberation’s intellectual, communications, and transnational history reside at the core this thesis. Methodologically indebted to actor network theory, critical theorizations of counterpublics and the public sphere, and transnational historiography, the thesis develops four main arguments. First, far from a short-lived burst of Stonewall-era radicalism, gay liberation was a distinct formation of queer activism that stretched from the end of the 1960s to the emergence of HIV-AIDS in the early 1980s. Second, the decentralized dialogues, debates, and knowledge-making projects that animated gay liberation’s intellectual history cannot be reduced to a single intellectual framework or political ideology. Third, the periodicals in which gay liberation’s intellectual history materialized also constituted a transnational actor-network by bringing far-flung readers, writers, ideas, analyses, and discourses into association. Fourth, language and culture were much greater barriers to the circulation of gay liberation periodicals than national borders or absolute geographic space, and the Anglo-American world was the seat of a distinctive and profoundly interconnected manifestation of gay liberation as such. After exploring the diverse intellectual influences that nourished gay liberation across the Anglo-American world, this thesis examines activist writings on themes such as: the psychiatric, psychological, and psychoanalytic pathologization of homosexuality; the historicity and genealogy of homosexual resistance to oppression; complex entanglements between gay liberation and lesbian feminism; child and youth sexuality; and paedophilia and intergenerational sex.
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