Free Comrades: Anarchism and Homosexuality in the United States, 1895-1917
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By investigating public records, journals, and books published between 1895 and 1917, Terence Kissack expands the scope of the history of LGBT politics in the United States. The anarchists Kissack examines – such as Emma Goldman, Benjamin Tucker, and Alexander Berkman – defended the right of individuals to pursue same-sex relations, often challenging the conservative beliefs of their fellow anarchists as well as those outside the movement – police, clergy, and medical authorities – who condemned LGBT people. In his book, Kissack examines the trial and imprisonment of Oscar Wilde, the life and work of Walt Whitman, periodicals including Tucker’s Liberty and Leonard Abbott’s The Free Comrade, and the frank treatment of homosexual relations in Berkman’s Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist. By defending the right to enter into same-sex partnerships free from social and governmental restraints, the anarchists posed a challenge to society still not met today.
Terence Kissack is a former Executive Director of San Francisco’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society, and he currently serves on the board. His writings have appeared in Radical History Review and Journal of the History of Sexuality.