Clark A. Pomerleau

From the first European institution of norms that queered indigenous variation to the rise of queer politics, United States LGBTQ history has undergone transformations in meanings, identities, community, and collective action. For centuries laws touted marriage as the place for same race reproductive sex but allowed some men sex for pleasure across race and class. When sex was considered behavior and society believed women and men were fundamentally different, same-gender intimacy that was not obviously sodomy was unremarkable. But as sexologists categorized sexuality into normal or pathological identities, heteronormativity developed that added psychology and medical science to the church and state as anti-LGBT institutions. Communities of gay and bi men, lesbian and bi women, and trans people multiplied in the 1950s despite heightened repression, and a portion of these minorities organized for equal rights. Even an epidemic blamed on and falsely identified with gays could not stop LGBT organizing. Activists further developed radical tactics from the 1970s to call for liberation from heteronormativity. Arduous legal gains have been easier than rooting out the foundational power imbalances by race, class, gender, ability, and citizenship, but both legal and cultural changes continue to transform society.