The Twin Cities is home to one of the largest and most vital GLBT populations in the nation-and one of the highest percentages of gay residents in the country. Drawn from the pioneering work of the Twin Cities GLBT Oral History Project-a collective organization of students, scholars, and activists devoted to documenting and interpreting the lives of GLBT people in Minneapolis and St. Paul-"Queer Twin Cities" is a uniquely critical collection of essays on Minnesota's vibrant queer communities, past and present.
A rich blend of oral history, archival research, and ethnography, "Queer Twin Cities" uses sexuality to chart connections between people's lives in Minnesota. Topics range from turn-of-the-century Minneapolis amid moral reform-including the highly publicized William Williams murder trial and efforts to police Bridge Square, aka "skid row"-to northern Minnesota and the importance of male companionship among lumber workers, and to postwar life, when the increased visibility of queer life went hand in hand with increased regulation, repression, and violence. Other essays present a portrait of early queer spaces in the Twin Cities, such as Kirmser's Bar, the Viking Room, and the Persian Palms, and the proliferation of establishments like the Dugout and the 19 Bar. Exploring the activism of GLBT/Two-Spirit indigenous people, the antipornography movements of the 1980s, and the role of gay men in the gentrification of Minneapolis neighborhoods, this volume brings the history of queer life and politics in the Twin Cities into fascinating focus.
Engaging and revelatory, "Queer Twin Cities" offers a critical analysis of local history and community and fills a glaring omission in the culture and history of Minnesota, looking not only to a remarkable past, but to our collective future.