This article explores how letters written by white men living in the Midwest reveal the relation between their location and their strategies to realize queer social and sexual lives from the 1930s through the 1950s. In particular I demonstrate how their relative isolation encouraged them to use correspondence for community formation and travel as a way to meet other men, emphasizing the circular nature of that travel (rather than one-way movement in classic accounts of queer migration). I also highlight the more fluid sexual identities of some of these men's sexual partners and explore the significance of the ethnic and political identities of the correspondents themselves. In sum, the article demonstrates how one group of queer men, themselves racially and politically representative of midwesterners at midcentury, forged queer lives for themselves in a region that has thus far seen little attention by scholars of the queer past.
Siobhan B Somerville
Martin F. Manalansan