Long Before Stonewall: Histories of Same-sex Sexuality in Early America

Front Cover
Thomas A. Foster
NYU Press, 2007 - History - 405 pages

2007 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

Although the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City symbolically mark the start of the gay rights movement, individuals came together long before the modern era to express their same-sex romantic and sexual attraction toward one another, and in a myriad of ways. Some reflected on their desires in quiet solitude, while others endured verbal, physical, and legal harassment for publicly expressing homosexual interest through words or actions.

Long Before Stonewall seeks to uncover the many iterations of same-sex desire in colonial America and the early Republic, as well as to expand the scope of how we define and recognize homosocial behavior. Thomas A. Foster has assembled a pathbreaking, interdisciplinary collection of original and classic essays that explore topics ranging from homoerotic imagery of black men to prison reform to the development of sexual orientations. This collection spans a regional and temporal breadth that stretches from the colonial Southwest to Quaker communities in New England. It also includes a challenge to commonly accepted understandings of the Native American berdache. Throughout, connections of race, class, status, and gender are emphasized, exposing the deep foundations on which modern sexual political movements and identities are built.


What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


WeibeTown and the DelawaresasWomen
Abominable Sin in Colonial New Mexico
The Cry of Sodom
Border Crossings
Hermaphrodites and SameSex
Mapping an Atlantic Sexual Culture
An Excerpt from Surpassing the
Leander Lorenzo and Castalio
The Swan of Litchfield
Sexual Desire Crime and
The Black Body Erotic and the
Whats Sex Got to Do with It?
In a French Position

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 16 - The Female World of Love and Ritual : Relations Between Women in Nineteenth-Century America," Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 1, no.

About the author (2007)

Thomas A. Foster is Professor of History at Howard University, in Washington, DC, and author of Sex and the Eighteenth-Century Man: Massachusetts and the History of Sexuality in America, and Sex and the Founding Fathers: The American Quest for a Relatable Past. He is also editor of Long Before Stonewall: Histories of Same-Sex Sexuality (NYU Press, 2007), New Men: Manliness in Early America (NYU Press, 2011), and Documenting Intimate Matters: Primary Sources for a History of Sexuality in America. Foster tweets at @ThomasAFoster.pasting

Bibliographic information