Prisons in Queer History and Pop Culture
How America’s penal system shaped LGBTQ culture.
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This month Bryan, Christina, and Jules explore the intersection of queer life and incarceration. How has America’s prison-loving penal system shaped our history and present, and how does that experience get channeled—or not—into the culture we make and consume? The hosts are joined by Hugh Ryan, author of the new book The Women’s House of Detention: A Queer History of a Forgotten Prison, which uses one infamous midcentury institution in New York’s Greenwich Village to return the overlooked lives of incarcerated women and transmasculine folks to our collective story, and to make a stirring case for prison abolition as a queer issue. Then they discuss how prison shows up in pop culture—and whether they’re entirely comfortable with those fantasies.
Items discussed in the show:
Two recent articles on phalloplasty: “How Ben Got His Penis,” by Jamie Lauren Keiles in the New York Times, and “My Penis Myself,” by Gabriel Mac in New York
“Madison Cawthorn Thrusting His Naked Body on Another Man’s Face Doesn’t Tell Us Much About His ‘Gayness,’ ” by Bryan in Slate
Not Gay: Sex Between Straight White Men, by Jane Ward
The Women’s House of Detention: A Queer History of a Forgotten Prison, by Hugh Ryan
When Brooklyn Was Queer, by Hugh Ryan
Huey P. Newton’s 1970 speech on the women’s liberation and gay liberation movements
Christina: Great Freedom
Jules: The Vice series Transnational
Bryan: From Gay to Z: A Queer Compendium, by Justin Elizabeth Sayres
This podcast was produced by June Thomas.
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