BackStory- Outed: Sexual Identity in America
This episode of BackStory asks how and why Americans have distinguished between “normal” and “deviant” sexual behavior, and looks at changes in those distinctions through the centuries.
How have those categories been policed — and challenged? When and why did Americans begin to think of homosexuality and heterosexuality as distinct identities?
And how do historians reconstruct histories that were often purposely kept secret? From colonial courts to 19th Century “intimate friendships,” to a federal government crackdown on gay and lesbian life in the mid-20th Century, we explore the many ways that Americans have understood – and broken – the sexual status quo.