Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

"The Only Safe Closet is the Voting Booth": The Gay Rights Movement in Louisiana
by David, Bryan M., M.A., University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 2016, 92; 10163287
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis examines the development of the gay rights movement in Louisiana. It begins by exploring both the homophile era and the liberation era in Louisiana, and how members of the LGBTQ community during these periods created safe spaces for themselves. I focus on two groups, the Louisiana Electorate of Gays and Lesbians (LEGAL) and the Louisiana Gay Political Action Caucus (LAGPAC), throughout the remainder of the work and how members of these organizations shaped the LGBTQ community by fighting for legislative protections and civil rights. I examine how gay rights activists negotiated the terms and parameters of identities like "gay" and "lesbian" in the context of political action, and how these identities remain relevant for the community today. Throughout the work, I argue that members of organizations like LAGPAC and LEGAL were more reactive than proactive when advocating for legislative protections for Louisiana’s LGBTQ community. To reach this conclusion, I use primary source collections of both LEGAL and LAGPAC, as well as various local periodicals to show how members of these organizations and members of the press disseminated information regarding the fight for gay civil rights to the LGBTQ community and the general public.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Skilton, Liz
Commitee: Ritchey, Sara, Suk, Lena
School: University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Department: History
School Location: United States -- Louisiana
Source: MAI 56/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: American history, LGBTQ studies
Keywords: LAGPAC, Louisiana, Politicization, Politics of respectability, Queer studies
Publication Number: 10163287
ISBN: 978-1-369-17979-8
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