This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

“Looking for a City”: Community, Politics, and Gay and Lesbian Rights in Atlanta, 1968-1993




Marini, Angelica

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation




“‘Looking for a City’: Community, Politics, and Gay and Lesbian Rights in Atlanta, 1968-1993,” explores the evolution of gay and lesbian communities and the development of lesbian and gay rights in Atlanta, Georgia, from gay liberation to a queer nation. Atlanta’s gay, lesbian, and queer community history is marked by local events that shaped the contours of its activism. I look at gay and lesbian political and community organizations, institutions, newspapers, and events to explore an important history of a dynamic and active lesbian and gay community in the city. Atlanta’s lesbian and gay political and community organizing, like other urban communities, grew out of the local politics of the city. Studies about modern Atlanta largely ignore the gay and lesbian community. This dissertation addresses gay and lesbian communities in Atlanta and seeks to make them a visible and important addition to understanding the politics of the city. As lesbians and gays are invisible in Atlanta’s histories, they are also invisible in the context of national lesbian and gay history narratives. This history has been based mainly on bicoastal metropolitan communities. Atlanta’s lesbian and gay community history reflects that it was a smaller city and a regional hub. Important academic interventions have pushed back at the centering of Stonewall and expanded concepts about community and sexuality in non-urban places. Atlanta’s lesbian and gay community history has been left largely unexamined because much of the literature about southern queer history has focused on regional identity and the rural geography of the South. As a result we know far less about the dynamics of urban queer life in the South and this dissertation is an attempt to address that need.