Odd Characters: Queer Lives in Nineteenth-Century Baltimore

Thumbnail Image

Publication or External Link





Queer history in Baltimore began long before the twentieth century. People who diverged from societal norms of gender and sexuality were always present in Baltimore’s history, and they can be seen through media representations and popular press of the time period. Even when representation of queerness in media was less common, stories of people who diverged from gender and sexual norms were still distributed to the public. Media representations provided inspiration and information to people who did not have access to a group of like-minded people through a distinct subculture. Queer Baltimoreans drew from media representations, early stages of a developing subculture, or their own personal thoughts and feelings to inform their gender and sexual identities. Despite the legal and social measures restricting these people from living their lives as freely as they might wish, they still found individualized ways to live life outside of gender and sexual norms.