Normal Politics: Negotiating Sexuality and Child Endangerment in 1977 America Public Deposited

Downloadable Content

Download PDF
Last Modified
  • March 20, 2019
  • Palmer, David
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History
  • This thesis shows how opposition to gay rights first emerged into a national political issue within the United States. It argues that links made between homosexuality and child endangerment in early 1977 were critical to the formation of anti-gay rights discourse. Opponents of gay rights labeled homosexuals "deviant" and thereby dangerous to children represented the basis of opposition to gay rights. Gay rights activists and gay media responded by emphasizing their normalcy over their difference to heterosexuals. Although discussion of normativity centered on the relationship between homosexuality and child endangerment, the issue, more generally, was a vehicle for both heterosexuals and homosexuals to negotiate sexual identities and boundaries. Reflection on the meaning of "normal" within the gay rights, child endangerment debate affected issues concerning access to public space, notions of child sexual abuse, and which groups were entitled to political rights.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Filene, Peter G.
  • Sigal, Peter
  • Kasson, John F.
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2008

This work has no parents.