Hugh Ryan

is creating Queer history

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The Inverts

$1
per month

The support I get here is incredibly important to my budget - but I believe everyone should have access to this history. So no matter what level you choose to support me at, you'll get a monthly round up of all of my writing, some thoughts on great work by other artists, and a visual dip into the queer historical archives I'm currently working on!

The Queens

$5
per month
At this level, you'll receive a monthly unpublished excerpt from my book-in-progress about the queer history of Brooklyn, PLUS exclusive access to my patron-only updates, PLUS every new piece I've written.

The Uranians

$10
per month

The support I get here is incredibly important to my budget - but I believe everyone should have access to this history. So no matter what level you choose to support me at, you'll get a monthly round up of all of my writing, some thoughts on great work by other artists, and a visual dip into the queer historical archives I'm currently working on!

84

patrons

$470

per month

About Hugh Ryan

Hey, I'm Hugh Ryan, and thanks for checking out my Patreon page! I'm a queer historian who believes that to truly understand American history, we have to look at sexuality and gender identity - what they are, how they've changed, and how they change the way we live our lives. And to really understand these topics, I think we have to also talk about race, class, religion, ability, etc.

Ok, sure, but what does that mean in practice?

As you can imagine, this is a super lucrative job & I spend most of my day diving into silos full of golden coins, a la my personal hero, Scrooge McDuck.

Ooookay, no. Mostly, these days, I'm writing about the lives of the queer women and trans masc people who were imprisoned in New York City's infamous Women's House of Detention. My book on this subject - THE PRISON ON CHRISTOPHER STREET - comes out in 2021 from Bold Type Books, but you can get a taste of it here.

In 2019, I wrote WHEN BROOKLYN WAS QUEER, on the LGBTQ+ history of Brooklyn, which came out in hardcover from St. Martin's Press. I also turned that research into an exhibition for the Brooklyn Historical Society. The book won the 2020 New York City Book prize from the Society Library, and was a finalist for both the Randy Shilts Award and the Lambda Literary prize in Gay Nonfiction; the exhibition won the 2019-2020 Allan Berube prize from The Committee on LGBT History at the American Historical Association. For this work, I received fellowships from the New York Public Library, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and The Watermill Center

I also write about a lot of random queer things, like drag kings from the 1930s, David Wojnarowicz's controversial queer video art from the 1980s, being part of a thrupple (even though I hate that word), a long-forgotten transgender soul music pioneer, the Japanese-American AIDS activist who ran with the Black Panthers, the meaning of the word cisgender, and the cosmetics heiress who created a safe space for queer people during the Harlem Renaissance.

Cool, what else ya got?

In 2010, I founded The Pop-Up Museum of Queer History, which helped local communities around the country create their own exhibitions on LGBTQ history. I've also co-created exhibits for Visual AIDS / La Mama Galleria, a compilation of historical HIV/AIDS videos, and an online archive for the artist David Wojnarowicz. I sit on the Board of Advisors for the Museum of Transgender Hirstory and Art & for the academic publication QED: A Journal In GLBTQ Worldmaking. For my day job, I help raise money to provide free legal services to low- and no-income New Yorkers at the Urban Justice Center.

Tell me more about that Brooklyn book?

I thought you'd never ask! A few years ago I realized that despite living in Brooklyn for nearly two decades, I knew next to nothing about its queer history. Ever since, I've been on a hunt for the long, fascinating, and mostly forgotten queer stories of Brooklyn. If you like sailors, drag kings, spies, lesbian heiresses, gay brothels, sex workers, poets, the Brooklyn Bridge, Walt Whitman, Carson McCullers, Alice Dunbar Nelson, the New York City Subway, or Coney Island - boy, do I have some stories to tell you!

(And if you want to know more about queer Brooklyn and can't wait for the book, check out this presentation I gave at the New York Public Library last year, this podcast I did with the Brooklyn Historical Society, or this Q&A I did with Jeremiah Moss of Vanishing New York.)

As you can probably tell, I could talk about queer history all day, but I'll stop here for now. Thanks for reading this far, and (if you choose to do so) thanks for supporting my work!
Goals
$469.66 of $500 per month
When I reach $500/month, I'm going to create a monthly short video talking about some aspect of my research that I won't be able to go into fully in my book.
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By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 104 exclusive posts
141
Images
14
Links
27
Writings
5
Videos
By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 104 exclusive posts
141
Images
14
Links
27
Writings
5
Videos

Recent posts by Hugh Ryan

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