Raids, Rights, and Rainbow Coalitions: Sexuality, Race, and the Remaking of Chicago Politics, 1950-2000


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation charts the emergence of an “ethnic model” of lesbian and gay politics since the 1960s, through a case study of the political incorporation of gays and lesbians into municipal government. In nearly all of America’s major cities, gays and lesbians have achieved more political power than at any other level of government, yet most studies of post-Stonewall LGBT politics look at the federal level or at the arguably exceptional coastal “meccas.” This study examines Chicago, perhaps the largest American city without a strong popular association with homosexuality, and argues that African American leaders of the civil rights generation not only challenged the city’s exclusionary political machine, but also facilitated political mobilization based on non-heterosexual forms of intimacy.