Public Faces, Secret Lives - A Queer History of the Women&

Public Faces, Secret Lives - A Queer History of the Women's Suffrage Movement Book

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Restores queer suffragists to their rightful place in the history of the struggle for women's right to vote

The women's suffrage movement, much like many other civil rights movements, has an important and often unrecognised queer history. In 
Public Faces, Secret Lives Wendy L. Rouse reveals that, contrary to popular belief, the suffrage movement included a variety of individuals who represented a range of genders and sexualities. However, owing to the constant pressure to present a "respectable" public image, suffrage leaders publicly conformed to gendered views of ideal womanhood in order to make women's suffrage more palatable to the public.

Rouse argues that queer suffragists did take meaningful action to assert their identities and legacies by challenging traditional concepts of domesticity, family, space, and death in both subtly subversive and radically transformative ways. Queer suffragists also built lasting alliances and developed innovative strategies in order to protect their most intimate relationships, ones that were ultimately crucial to the success of the suffrage movement. 
Public Faces, Secret Lives is the first work to truly recenter queer figures in the women's suffrage movement, highlighting their immense contributions as well as their numerous sacrifices.

"A stunning achievement, Public Faces, Secret Lives provides a long overdue history of queer suffragists and their integral role in the movement."
Emily Skidmore, author of True Sex: The Lives of Trans Men at the Turn of the Twentieth Century

"Asking new questions of old stories - that is what Wendy Rouse has superbly done by turning a queer eye on the women's suffrage movement. Hiding in plain sight, or sometimes hidden by historical erasure, queer women were central figures in the movement, providing models of activism and non-heteronormative behaviour for those who follow in their footsteps."
Susan Ware, author of Why They Marched: Untold Stories of the Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote

"Not only a powerful revision of the largely heteronormative framings of the suffrage movement, 
Public Faces, Secret Lives is also testament to the queer community's power to reimagine and revolutionise social movements today."
Leila J. Rupp, author of the 2015 Lambda Literary Award winner, Understanding and Teaching U.S. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History

"Public Faces, Secret Lives brings to life the work and names of the queer champions of the women's suffrage movement, restoring their rightful place in history and feminism, intersectional as it should be. Author Wendy L. Rouse highlights the radical, innovative action queer suffragists took to challenge traditions around family, love and death -- and shows us how they had a lasting, crucial impact on the success of the suffrage movement."

Author Wendy L Rouse
Format Hardback
ISBN 9781479813940


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