Who is the Queer Consumer? Historical Perspectives on Capitalism and Homosexuality

Bengry, Justin. 2015. Who is the Queer Consumer? Historical Perspectives on Capitalism and Homosexuality. In: Erika Rappaport; Sandra Trudgen Dawson and Mark J. Crowley, eds. Consuming Behaviours: Identity, Politics and Pleasure in Twentieth-Century Britain. London: Bloomsbury, pp. 21-36. ISBN 9780857857392 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

In this new essay, the first to synthesise historical interest in homosexuality and capitalism in Britain and America across the twentieth century, I ask who is the queer consumer, and what does it mean to consumer queerly?

From the late nineteenth century, interplays between legal prohibitions, the expansion of media and retailing, and demographic shifts attendant with urbanization all helped create, through processes of appeal and denial, the idea of the queer consumer. By queer consumer, I suggest the historical belief that queer men were natural consumers who enjoyed using licit and illicit goods, spaces, and leisure activities in coded, homoerotic, and subversive, ultimately queer, ways. This notion of the queer consumer was shared both by those seeking to restrain homosexual activities and those hoping to profit from them. This essay begins to think more critically about queer consumers by providing an overview of extant scholarship, considering primarily how proprietors sold commodities to queer men, and by proposing avenues for further research.

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Book Section


pink pound, homosexuality, capitalism, lgbt queer history, consumer culture, England, United Kingdom

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30 July 2015Published

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Date Deposited:

10 Nov 2017 11:09

Last Modified:

10 Mar 2021 12:21



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