Today, the Brooklyn waterfront is a prime tourist destination booming with development, where you can get ice cream, play sports, and as of recently stare into an enormous whirling pool by Anish Kapoor. But in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the area was not so much for respite as for refuge. The less-policed waterfront was among the few places where queer, working class people, facing persecution and prejudice, could socialize and seek employment, including as sailors, military factory workers, entertainers, and sex workers.
For years, Hugh Ryan, a journalist and the founder of the Pop-Up Museum of Queer History, has been studying this period in history and on Thursday, June 8, you’ll have the chance to hear him talk about it at the Brooklyn Historical Society. He’ll be sharing some of the research he did while serving as the Martin Duberman Visiting Scholar at the New York Public Library, which could range from the laws New York City had in place against queer people to how the very concept of “queer” was still developing. As he said in a recent interview, “Our modern idea of sexuality as a unique identity, separate from gender, was only just coming into existence.”
When: Thursday, June 8, doors at 6pm; event at 6:30pm
Where: Brooklyn Historical Society (128 Pierrepont Street, Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn)
More info here.