MultiSession Queer Souths, Part 1: Queer Southern Destinations: Tourism, Community, Policing, and Belonging

AHA Session 58
Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History 2
Friday, January 4, 2013: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Bayside Ballroom A (Sheraton New Orleans)
Karen Cox, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
New Orleans and the Wider World
Karen Cox, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Session Abstract

This panel explores how certain locales in the U.S. South became destinations for queer people (and their policing) during the second half of the twentieth century. Jerry Watkins III and Melinda Chateauvert both explore how midcentury tourist destinations (the Florida Panhandle and New Orleans’ French Quarter, respectively) underwent aggressive policing of sexual and gender diversity as city leaders sought to “clean up” areas to appeal to what they imagined to be a more respectable and profitable tourist trade. Jim Downs and John Goins explore the challenges and possibilities that gay people faced in the 1970s and 1980s in carving out sites for belonging, support, and organizing. Downs explores the deadly 1973 arsonist attack on a New Orleans gay bar-turned-church, while Goins traces the development of Houston’s Montrose district as a gay neighborhood. Collectively, these papers emphasize the importance of contested space and place in LGBTQ historical studies of the South.

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