Don’t Say Gay: A Queer History
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State lawmakers have proposed almost 250 anti-LGBTQ laws in 2022 alone. Why are we seeing such a virulent political backlash to sexual identity? And what can the current vitriol tell us about the entwinement of sexual orientation and politics in American history?  Heather and Joanne discuss the history of categorizing sexual preference, from the relative fluidity of early American sexual choices, to the rise of “Boston Marriages” and New York’s gay culture, to the McCarthy-led 1950s Lavender Scare.  Join CAFE Insider to listen to “Backstage,” where Heather and Joanne chat each week about the anecdotes and ideas that formed the episode. Head to: For more historical analysis of current events, sign up for the free weekly CAFE Brief newsletter, featuring Time Machine, a weekly article that dives into an historical event inspired by each episode of Now & Then: For references & supplemental materials, head to: Now & Then is presented by CAFE and the Vox Media Podcast Network. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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