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By investigating public records, journals, and books published between 1895 and 1917, Terence Kissack expands the scope of the history of LGBT politics in the United States. The anarchists Kissack examines—such as Emma Goldman, Benjamin Tucker, and Alexander Berkman—defended the right of individuals to pursue same-sex relations, challenging both the sometimes conservative beliefs of their fellow anarchists as well as those outside the movement—police, clergy, and medical authorities—who condemned LGBT people.
In his book, Kissack examines the trial and imprisonment of Oscar Wilde, the life and work of Walt Whitman, periodicals such as Tucker's Liberty and Leonard Abbott's The Free Comrade, and the frank treatment of homosexual relations in Berkman's Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist, By defending the right to enter into same sex partnerships, free from social and governmental restraints, the anarchists posed a challenge to society still not met today.
Terence Kissack is a former Executive Director of San Francisco’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society; he currently serves on the board of the Society. His writings have appeared in Radical History Review and Journal of the History of Sexuality.
Introduction: Anarchism and the Politics of Homosexuality 1
"The Right to Complete Liberty of Action": Anarchism, Sexuality, and American Culture 13
The Wilde Ones: Oscar Wilde and Anarchist Sexual Politics 43
Free Comrades: Whitman and the Shifting Grounds of the Politics of Homosexuality 69
"Love's Dungeon Flower": Prison and the Politics of Homosexuality 97
"'Urnings,' 'Lesbians,' and other strange topics": Sexology and the Politics of Homosexuality 127
Anarchist Sexual Politics in the Post-World War I Period 153
Conclusion: Anarchism, Stonewall, and the Transformation of the Politics of Homosexuality 181