Stephen ViderMay 25, 2022
The Queerness of Home
Gender, Sexuality, and the Politics of Domesticity After World War II
University of Chicago Press 2021
Stephen Vider uncovers how LGBTQ people reshaped domestic life in the postwar United States. From the Stonewall riots to the protests of ACT UP, histories of queer and trans politics have almost exclusively centered on public activism. In The Queerness of Home: Gender, Sexuality, and the Politics of Domesticity After World War II (U Chicago Press, 2021), Vider turns the focus inward, showing that the intimacy of domestic space has been equally crucial to the history of postwar LGBTQ life.
Beginning in the 1940s, LGBTQ activists looked increasingly to the home as a site of connection, care, and cultural inclusion. They struggled against the conventions of marriage, challenged the gendered codes of everyday labor, reimagined domestic architecture, and contested the racial and class boundaries of kinship and belonging. Retelling LGBTQ history from the inside out, Vider reveals the surprising ways that the home became, and remains, a charged space in battles for social and economic justice, making it clear that LGBTQ people not only realized new forms of community and culture for themselves—they remade the possibilities of home life for everyone.
Jane Scimeca is Professor of History at Brookdale Community College.