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There is no decade that evokes such discomfort for LGBT folk than the 1950s. Those who were privileged enough to benefit during the era remember the decade fondly as the age of a tremendous economic boom and American identity transforming with the victory in both Europe and the Pacific. White heterosexual families migrated from cities to the suburbs and turned out children almost as fast as the factories were producing fridges and washing machines. But LGBT Americans were put under a sudden microscope; there was a mass culture of conformity to which those who failed to perform heteronormativity stood out sorely. LGBT folk were painted as perverts and communists, a threat to American culture and safety, and a state-encouraged distrust for gay people persisted in this era. Despite these hardships, it was in 1950 that the first gay rights organization in the United States, the Mattachine Society, was founded, and throughout this decade LGBT folk turned to each other in community building for survival.


Undergraduate Research Awards - 2017 Winner, First-year/Sophomore category