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Radical Philosophy Review

Volume 3, Issue 1, 2000

Nan Boyd
Pages 20-27

Policing Queers
San Francisco’s History of Repression and Resistance

Ever since it was annexed from northern Mexico in 1848, San Francisco has catered to tourists attracted to its good year-round weather, natural splendor, as well as its licentious entertainment industry and, since the 1950s, the buoyancy of its lesbian and gay community. The author looks at the growth and vibrancy of alternative lifestyles in San Francisco, arguing that the visibility of the queer community there is not the result of general tolerance in the Western outpost but, paradoxically, the outcome of a struggle between the lesbian, gay, and transgendered residents of the city and the repressive local, state, and federal agencies whose harassment of the alternative communities, culminating in the 1930s and 1940s in frequent bar-raids, arrests, and the “war on vice,” brought about the queer community’s politicization and grovving militancy.

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