Gay Identity and Community in Early Portland

Peter Boag

in Same-Sex Affairs

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 2003 | ISBN: 9780520236042
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930698 | DOI:
Gay Identity and Community in Early Portland

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This chapter explores the nature of Portland's middle-class gay community as revealed in the documentary evidence of the 1912 affair and of a smaller scandal that occurred in 1928. It also investigates the formation of white middle-class gay subculture in the context of the national and even international development of corporate capitalism. The chapter then describes the sexual practices of these gay men and makes the argument that middle-class sexual forms contributed a great deal to America's first sexual revolution. In the 1912 scandal, the typical male who participated in Portland's early homosexual subculture was a young, white-collar worker who was single and lived on his own or with others like himself. Gay men referred to Lownsdale simply as “the park,” a name that denoted its centrality to their world. The emergence of the homosexual community, homosexual identity, and expanding homosexual activities is a significant part of America's first sexual revolution.

Keywords: middle-class gay community; Portland; 1912 scandal; corporate capitalism; sexual practices; sexual revolution; 1928 scandal; homosexual community; homosexual identity

Chapter.  14663 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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