June is LGBTQ Pride Month in the US, so we’ve collected some of our most popular stories on a range of topics—from pronouns to politics—that highlight the history of the LGBTQ community. As always, links to free JSTOR scholarship are included with each of these.

“There Was Grit and Talent Galore”

Lindsy Van Gelder--author of that famous New York Post article about bra-burning feminists--reflects on the alternative LGBTQ+ press of the 1970s.
Julie Enszer and the cover of issue 55 of Sinister Wisdom

Julie Enszer: “We Couldn’t Get Them Printed,” So We Learned to Print Them Ourselves

The editor of the lesbian feminist magazine Sinister Wisdom talked to us about lesbian print culture, feminist collectives, and revolution.
An illustration of Dong Xian and Emperor Ai depicting the story of Passion of the cut sleeve

In Han Dynasty China, Bisexuality Was the Norm

So tender was Emperor Ai’s love for his "male companion" that, when he had to get up, instead of waking his lover, he cut off the sleeve of his robe.
Oscar Wilde with a green carnation

Four Flowering Plants That Have Been Decidedly Queered

The queer history of the pansy and other flowers.
Marlon Riggs, left, and Essex Hemphill in Tongues Untied.

Filmmaker Marlon Riggs: “Notice Is Served”

The award-winning Black gay filmmaker, author, and activist Marlon Riggs left a legacy of protest against racism and homophobia.
Frank Kameny

The Lavender Scare

In 1950, the U.S. State Department fired 91 employees because they were homosexual or suspected of being homosexual.
Kate Moennig in The L Word

What’s Behind the Very Real Butch Quarantine Hair Crisis?

What's a masculine lesbian to do when her hair starts getting too long? Look at history for inspiration.
Sarah Ponsonby and Lady Eleanor Butler, known as the the Ladies of Llangollen

Who Were the Ladies of Llangollen?

Top hat connoisseurs, friends of princesses and poets, tchotchke models, dog lovers, cottage keepers...lesbians?
Playwright Terrence McNally in 2010

How Terrence McNally Reimagined the Danse Macabre

The centerpiece of the prize-winning Love! Valor! Compassion! is a rehearsal for an affirming staging of Swan Lake—in drag.
King (Kabaka) Mwanga from Buganda (1868-1903)

Anthropologists Hid African Same-Sex Relationships

Sex between people of the same gender has existed for millennia. But anthropologists in sub-Saharan Africa often ignored or distorted those relationships.
Audre Lorde

Barbara Christian on Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde's influence on contemporary intersectional feminism was profound, as pioneering Black literary scholar Barbara Christian wrote.
Hollywood's disappearing lesbians

American Film’s Disappearing Lesbians

In the 1990s, lesbian characters were repeatedly transformed into "close friends" in film adaptions of LGBTQ-themed books.
Two men and a baby

How Families with Two Dads Raise Their Kids

Research reveals few differences between the parenting of gay men and their straight peers.
Protestors from lesbian, gay and bisexual rights charity Stonewall, carrying a banner reading 'Lesbian & Gay Rights are Human Rights' during the Gay Pride parade in London, England, United Kingdom, 6 July 1996

The Stonewall Riots Didn’t Start the Gay Rights Movement

Giving Stonewall too much credit misses the movement’s growing strength in the 1960s, sociologists note.
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cover_of_Strange_Affair_by_Edwin_West_-_Illustration_by_Harry_Schaare_-_Monarch_Book_1962.jpg

Pulp Fiction Helped Define American Lesbianism

Between 1950 and 1965, steamy novels about lesbian relationships, marketed to men, inadvertently offered closeted women much-needed representation.
Giovanni's Room, Philadelphia

Book Club Made Me Gay

Book clubs and reading groups have long been important to marginalized communities.
Queer aging

Queer Time: The Alternative to “Adulting”

What constitutes adulthood has never been self-evident or value-neutral. Queer lives follow their own temporal logic.
Benedetta Carlini

Lesbianism (!) at the Convent

Mother Superior Benedetta Carlini, a visionary nun of Renaissance Italy, was accused of heresy and “female sodomy.”
Old West Crossdressing

The Forgotten Gender Nonconformists of the Old West

In the Old West, cross-dressing was sometimes a disguise for criminals on the lam. But, one historian argues, in many cases these “cross-dressers” were probably people who we would identify as transgender today.
Stonewall Inn

Why Stonewall?

The Stonewall riot in June, 1969 is generally remembered as be the beginning of the gay liberation movement. But there was precedent for the event.
Businessmen

The Secret Gay Business Network of Midcentury America

In the 1940s and 50s, a life of business travel represented a sense of freedom for gay men that would have been impossible in earlier decades.

Why Naming Anti-Gay Violence Matters

The Orlando shooting was an act of anti-gay violence, an element of the story many politicians have ignored.
Print