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Welcome to OutHistory

OutHistory.org presents free, evidence-based features and documents on U.S. lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer history.

We do homosexual, bisexual, and heterosexual history.

We do the history of people who did not conform to dominant norms of sexuality and gender -- and people who did. 

We document how people came to experience themselves as hetero, homo, or bi, and the history of the heterosexual/homosexual binary.

We study the history of how people came to experience themselves as female or male, feminine or masculine, or as a queer combination, and how they questioned the m/f binary. 

We study the influence of other nations on the U.S. and the U.S. influence on other nations.

Knowledge of past LGBTQ struggles inspires LGBTQ people and our allies in the present. But this history has not been easily and freely available. It has not been taught in schools. Our work frees this history from obscurity. We free this history from paywalls.

Recovering sexual and gender history is a form of activism. It inspires people to action in the present. It helps them make a freer future.

Our work is only possible with your help!

OutHistory.org is a project of the Fund for the City of New York, a not-for-profit corporation. All of your donations are tax-deductible.

You may also send checks, made out to “Fund for the City of New York” (please write OutHistory.org in the memo line) to:

Outhistory
c/o Fund for the City of New York
121 Avenue of the Americas, 6 Floor
New York, NY 10013

OutHistory Highlights

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    Alexander Hamilton and John Laurens: 1777-1783

    Hamilton's letters to Laurens recall that he and Laurens inhabited a world that was not divided between “heterosexual” and “homosexual,” a world in which same-sex love and intimacy was not considered tainted by “sexuality.”

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    Christopher Michael Elias: Sexuality and the Modern American Gossip Magazine

    The growth of gossip magazines and tabloids during the first half of the twentieth century was partially fueled by the industry's embrace of sensational topics such as murder, violence, crime, and corruption. But no subject seemed to attract more attention than sexuality, especially sexual...

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    Marc Stein: Boutilier v. Immigration and Naturalization Service (1967)

    This feature commemorates the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Boutilier v. Immigration and Naturalization Service, which upheld the deportation of Clive Michael Boutilier, a Canadian citizen and U.S. permanent resident who was classified by the INS as “afflicted with...

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    Queering the Economy: Stories from Queer Economic History

    Writing about queer bars and drag culture in the 1972 classic Mother Camp, Esther Newton observed that queer communities had “an economics but no economy.” In this exhibit, Jeffrey Escoffier and Christopher Mitchell address the economics of gay bars for the early "closeted" LGBT community...

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    Peter Sewally/Mary Jones, June 11, 1836

    Two historians, Jonathan Ned Katz and Tavia Nyong’o, present and analyze the story and visual depiction of Peter Sewally/Mary Jones, a Black transgender person in New York City, in 1836.

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    Gene Pearson, the Canadian Nightingale

    In November 2019 I purchased a collection of cards and photographs dating from the 1920s. The cache included fourteen items concerning a performer named Gene Pearson, who was a professional female impersonator and singer. This paper will discuss these documents and will attempt to outline a reconstruction of the life and artistic contribution of Gene Pearson.