City of Sisterly and Brotherly Loves
Lesbian and Gay Philadelphia, 1945-1972
Stein takes us on a tour through Philadelphia's bars, restaurants, bookstores, bathhouses, movie theaters, parks, and parades where lesbian and gay cultures thrived.
We learn about the scientific experts, religious leaders, public officials, and journalists who attacked and ignored same-sex sexualities. And we read about the courageous people who fought back with strategies of everyday resistance and organized political activism.
Stein argues against the idea that a conspiracy of silence surrounded gays and lesbians in the 1940s and 1950s. He shows that same-sex sexualities were regularly discussed in controversies concerning the tennis player Big Bill Tilden, the Walt Whitman Bridge, sex murders and crimes, and police raids. Philadelphians became national leaders in the gay and lesbian movement. They conducted sit-ins at Dewey's restaurant, organized pickets at Independence Hall, edited the movement's most widely circulated publications the Ladder and Drum, and pursued court cases all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Beautifully crafted and exceptionally well-written, Stein's book not only provides a new starting place for thinking about lesbian and gay history but also challenges readers to rethink twentieth-century urban history.