Introduction to “the straight state: Sexuality and citizenship in twentieth century america”

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Measured against other Western democracies at the dawn of the twentieth century, the American state stood out as distinctive. A homosexual-heterosexual binary, in other words, was being inscribed in federal citizenship policy during early years. Homosexuality is thus a legal category as much as a medical or psychiatric one. The state is notoriously difficult to conceptualize and write about. Citizenship fosters “internal differentiation and hierarchy, " by incorporating some into citizenship in a way that highlights their subordination or “degraded status.” The regulation of homosexuality in women was also affected by the overall broadening of homosexuality that state policies had helped to bring about. State policies directed at sex/gender nonconformists have generally not operated by targeting large numbers-and especially true for the earlier period. An alternative approach might look vertically at local-state-federal interaction rather than horizontally across several institutions of the federal state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRoutledge International Handbook of Heterosexualities Studies
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9780429803918
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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