Search Results


Indecent advances : a hidden history of true crime and prejudice before Stonewall

Polchin, James.
Indecent advances : a hidden history of true crime and prejudice before Stonewall / James Polchin.
First hardcover edition.
Berkeley, California : Counterpoint, 2019 ©2019
244 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
  • Introduction: Criminalizing Queer Men
  • 1. When The Men Came Home : Sailors, Scandals, and Mysteries in the 1920s
  • 2. War on the Sex Criminal : Defining Psychopaths and Sex Deviants in the 1930s
  • 3. Behind the Headlines : Homosexual Hoodlums, Working-Class Criminality, and Queer Victims in the 1930s and 1940s
  • 4. Terror in the Streets : Indecent Advances, Homosexual Panic, and the Threat of Queer Men in Post-World War II America
  • 5. The Homosexual Next Door : Kinsey and the Private Life of Sex in the Cold War
  • 6. Stories of Prejudice and Suffering : Pervert Colonies, Homosexual Worlds, and the Birth of a New Minority
  • Conclusion: Politics of Violence.
A skillful hybrid of true crime and social history that examines the relationship between the media and popular culture in the portrayal of crimes against gay men in the decades before Stonewall. Stories of murder have never been just about killers and victims. Instead, crime stories take the shape of their times and reflect cultural notions and prejudices. In Indecent Advances, James Polchin recovers and recounts queer stories from the crime pages--often lurid and euphemistic--that reveal the hidden history of violence against gay men. What was left unsaid in the crime pages provides insight into the figure of the queer man as both criminal and victim, offering readers tales of vice and violence that aligned gender and sexual deviance with tragic, gruesome endings. Victims were often reported as having made "indecent advances," forcing the accused's hands in self-defense and reducing murder charges to manslaughter. Published in time for the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall uprising on June 28, 1969, Indecent Advances investigates how queer men navigated a society that criminalized them and displayed little compassion for the violence they endured. Polchin shows, with masterful insight, how this discrimination was ultimately transformed by activists to help shape the burgeoning gay rights movement in the years leading up to Stonewall.
Kinsey subjects
Homosexuality history.


Blmgtn - Kinsey Institute Library (by appointment only)
Call Number
Technical Services