The Queerness of Home: Gender, Sexuality, and the Politics of Domesticity After World War II

The Queerness of Home (under contract with University of Chicago Press) reveals how shifting conceptions of domesticity shaped experiences of sexuality and gender, and how lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people adapted domestic practices and discourses to shape LGBT identities, relationships, and politics.

Following World War II, government officials, mental health experts, and popular media depicted the marital, reproductive household as a unique source of personal and national stability, casting suspicion on those who deviated from the male breadwinner/female homemaker ideal. These ideas would shift in the 1960s and 70s, as media discussions of homosexuality and gender variance expanded, at the same time middle-class domestic life came under widespread attack. LGBT people's relationship to the home nevertheless remained a primary sign of deviance and exclusion.

Far from simply rejecting such discourses, LGBT people elaborated new domestic styles and intimacies as a primary means of negotiating their relationship to postwar sexual and gender norms. The Queerness of Home traces these alternative forms of home life, both to reveal the place of the home in LGBT history, and to better understand the persistent power of domesticity in shaping American culture and politics more broadly. From the Cold War to the same-sex marriage movement, queer domesticity operated as a site of creative tension between integration and resistance, challenging domestic conventions at the same time reaffirming the home as a privileged site of intimate and national belonging.