A Queer Capital
A History of Gay Life in Washington D.C.
By Genny Beemyn
Routledge – 2014 – 304 pages
Rooted in extensive archival research and personal interviews, A Queer Capital is the first history of LGBT life in the nation’s capital. Revealing a vibrant past that dates back more than 125 years, the book explores how lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals established spaces of their own before and after World War II, survived some of the harshest anti-gay campaigns in the U.S., and organized to demand equal treatment. Telling the stories of black and white gay communities and individuals, Genny Beemyn shows how race, gender, and class shaped the construction of gay social worlds in a racially segregated city.
From the turn of the twentieth century through the 1980s, Beemyn explores the experiences of gay people in Washington, showing how they created their own communities, fought for their rights, and, in the process, helped to change the country. Combining rich personal stories with keen historical analysis, A Queer Capital provides insights into LGBT life, the history of Washington, D.C., and African American life and culture in the twentieth century.
1. The Geography of Same-Sex Desire: Cruising Men in Washington D.C. in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries
2. "Sentiments Expressed Here would be Misconstrued by Others": The Same-Sex Sexual Lives of Washington's Black Elite in the Early Twentieth Century
3. Race, Class, Gender, and the Social Landscape of the Capital's Gay Communities during and after World War II
4. The Policing of Same-Sex Desire in Postwar Washington
5. LGBT Movements in the Capital in the Mid to Late Twentieth Century: Three Historic Moments
6. Epilogue: "In Tyra's Memory"
Appendix: List of Narrators
Genny Beemyn is Director of The Stonewall Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has published extensively in LGBTQ Studies, including The Lives of Transgender People.