The Straight State: Sexuality and Citizenship in Twentieth-Century America

The Straight State: Sexuality and Citizenship in Twentieth-Century America

by Margot Canaday
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0691149933

ISBN-13: 9780691149936

Pub. Date: 07/25/2011

Publisher: Princeton University Press

The Straight State is the most expansive study of the federal regulation of homosexuality yet written. Unearthing startling new evidence from the National Archives, Margot Canaday shows how the state systematically came to penalize homosexuality, giving rise to a regime of second-class citizenship that sexual minorities still live under today.

Canaday

Overview

The Straight State is the most expansive study of the federal regulation of homosexuality yet written. Unearthing startling new evidence from the National Archives, Margot Canaday shows how the state systematically came to penalize homosexuality, giving rise to a regime of second-class citizenship that sexual minorities still live under today.

Canaday looks at three key arenas of government control—immigration, the military, and welfare—and demonstrates how federal enforcement of sexual norms emerged with the rise of the modern bureaucratic state. She begins at the turn of the twentieth century when the state first stumbled upon evidence of sex and gender nonconformity, revealing how homosexuality was policed indirectly through the exclusion of sexually "degenerate" immigrants and other regulatory measures aimed at combating poverty, violence, and vice. Canaday argues that the state's gradual awareness of homosexuality intensified during the later New Deal and through the postwar period as policies were enacted that explicitly used homosexuality to define who could enter the country, serve in the military, and collect state benefits. Midcentury repression was not a sudden response to newly visible gay subcultures, Canaday demonstrates, but the culmination of a much longer and slower process of state-building during which the state came to know and to care about homosexuality across many decades.

Social, political, and legal history at their most compelling, The Straight State explores how regulation transformed the regulated: in drawing boundaries around national citizenship, the state helped to define the very meaning of homosexuality in America.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691149936
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
07/25/2011
Series:
Politics and Society in Twentieth-Century America Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
621,405
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix
Acknowledgments xi
Introduction 1

PART I: Nascent Policing
Chapter 1: IMMIGRATION
"A New Species of Undesirable Immigrant": Perverse Aliens and the Limits of the Law, 1900-1924 19
Chapter 2: MILITARY
"We Are Merely Concerned with the Fact of Sodomy": Managing Sexual Stigma in the World War I-Era
Military, 1917-1933 55
Chapter 3: WELFARE
"Most Fags Are Floaters": The Problem of "Unattached Persons" during the Early New Deal, 1933-1935 91

PART II: Explicit Regulation
Chapter 4: WELFARE
"With the Ugly Word Written across It": Homo-Hetero Binarism, Federal Welfare Policy, and the 1944 GI Bill 137
Chapter 5: MILITARY
"Finding a Home in the Army": Women's Integration, Homosexual Tendencies, and the Cold War Military, 1947-1959 174
Chapter 6: IMMIGRATION
"Who Is a Homosexual?": The Consolidation of Sexual Identities in Mid-twentieth-century Immigration Law, 1952-1983 214

Conclusion 255
Index 265

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