GAY NEW YORK: GENDER, URBAN CULTURE, AND THE MAKING OF THE GAY MALE WORLD
GEORGE CHAUNCEY (1994)
This study on homosexuality in early 20th century New York is one of the best non-fiction historical accounts on any topic.
Chauncey, George. Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World. New York: BasicBooks, 1994.
COMING OUT UNDER FIRE: THE HISTORY OF GAY MEN AND WOMEN IN WORLD WAR TWO
ALLAN BÉRUBÉ (1990)
Bérubé explores the rich gay and lesbian experience during World War II.
Bérubé, Allan. Coming Out Under Fire: The History of Gay Men and Women in World War Two. New York: Free Press, 1990.
SEXUAL POLITICS, SEXUAL COMMUNITIES: THE MAKING OF A HOMOSEXUAL MINORITY IN THE UNITED STATES, 1940 – 1970
JOHN D'EMILIO (1983)
This foundational work detailed the gay rights movement that preceded Stonewall. Read David Johnson’s Lavender Scare and Craig Loftin’s Letters to ONE for other must-read accounts of this era.
D’Emilio, John. Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities: the Making of a Homosexual Minority in the United States, 1940–1970. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1983.
DAVID CARTER (2004)
Carter’s work is the most exhaustive account of this historic event. Also be sure to read famed LGBTQ chronicler Martin Duberman’s coverage of the event and its context through the eyes of six diverse participants.
Carter, David. Stonewall. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2004.
OUT FOR GOOD: THE STRUGGLE TO BUILD A GAY RIGHTS MOVEMENT
DUDLEY CLENDINEN & ADAM NAGOURNEY (1999)
While other books expertly detail this era from the context of specific cities, no book better captures the 1970s national gay rights movement.
Clendinen, Dudley and Nagourney, Adam. Out for Good: The Struggle to Build a Gay Rights Movement in America. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999.
AND THE BAND PLAYED ON: POLITICS, PEOPLE AND THE AIDS EPIDEMIC
RANDY SHILTS (1987)
Randy Shilts’ three books are the gold standard of gay and lesbian journalistic non-fiction. And the Band Played On is required reading to the most devastating era in American gay history.
Shilts, Randy. And the Band Played on: Politics, People and the
AIDS Epidemic. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1987.
FROM THE CLOSET TO THE COURTROOM: FIVE LGBT RIGHTS LAWSUITS THAT HAVE CHANGED OUR NATION
CARLOS A. BALL (2010)
Many great legal books could have been noted here, but this book is a focused account of five lawsuits that should be covered in every American history class.
Ball, Carlos A. From the Closet to the Courtroom: Five LGBT Rights Law-suits That Have Changed our Nation. Boston: Beacon Press, 2010
ODD GIRLS AND TWILIGHT LOVERS: A HISTORY OF LESBIAN LIFE IN TWENTIETH-CENTURY AMERICA
LILLIAN FADERMAN (1991)
This is the foundational account of lesbian life in 20th century America. For an additional treat, try Faderman’s Gay Revolution, one of the best comprehensive histories of the gay rights movement.
Faderman, Lillian. Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth- Century America. New York: Columbia University Press, 1991.
THE CELLULOID CLOSET: HOMOSEXUALITY IN THE MOVIES
VITO RUSSO (1987)
Russo’s seminal research gave rise to the study of homosexuality in media.
Russo, Vito. The Celluloid Closet: Homosexuality in the Movies. Revised edition. New York: Harper and Row, Publishers, 1987.
HOW SEX CHANGED: A HISTORY OF TRANSSEXUALITY IN THE UNITED STATES
JOANNE MEYEROWITZ (2002)
Susan Stryker’s Transgender History is better known and an excellent account, but Joanne Meyerowitz's work taps the Kinsey Institute’s treasured archives to great effect.
Meyerowitz, Joanne. How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002.