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Queer Newark: Stories of Resistance, Love, and Community

Histories of gay and lesbian urban life typically focus on major metropolitan areas like San Francisco and New York, opportunity-filled destinations for LGBTQ migrants from across the country. Yet there are many other queer communities in economically depressed cities with majority Black and Hispanic populations that receive far less attention. Though just a few miles from New York, Newark is one of these cities, and its queer histories have been neglected—until now.

Queer Newark charts a history in which working-class people of color are the central actors and in which violence, poverty, and homophobia could never suppress joy, resistance, love, and desire. Drawing from rare archives that range from oral histories to vice squad reports, this collection’s authors uncover the sites and people of Newark’s queer past in bars, discos, ballrooms, and churches. Exploring the intersections of class, race, gender, and sexuality, they offer fresh perspectives on the HIV/AIDS epidemic, community relations with police, Latinx immigration, and gentrification, while considering how to best tell the rich and complex stories of queer urban life. Queer Newark reveals a new side of New Jersey’s largest city while rewriting the history of LGBTQ life in America.