History ETDs


Jordan Biro

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New Mexico, the heart of the American Southwest, has been home to countless gay men and lesbians throughout the twentieth century. This dissertation explores the states LGBTQ past and investigates the connections and exchanges between urban and rural gay and lesbian identities, cultures, and political organizations in the 1920s through the 1980s. Using New Mexico as case study, I provide an alternative narrative to previous scholarship that focuses either exclusively on gay urban or gay rural lives and instead present an example of a migratory queer network where lesbians and gay men crisscrossed cities and country spaces. Gay and lesbian cultures and politics flowed in- and-out of New Mexico especially during the creation of art colonies in the twenties, the construction of the security state in the forties and fifties, and the development of intentional lesbian land and gay male radical faeries communities in the seventies. These pivotal moments show how lesbians and gay men opposed institutions and practices of heteronormativity, resisted the use of sexuality as a tool of discrimination, and challenged constructed binaries: hetero/homo, public/private, and rural/urban. Lastly, New Mexican gay and lesbian experiences expose the deep and diverse trajectories of the larger struggle for gay civil rights that informs contemporary definitions of equal rights in America.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Cahill, Cathleen

Second Committee Member

Sandoval-Strausz, Andrew

Third Committee Member

Boag, Peter



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