This issue of the Radical History Review assembles the voices of scholars and activists who engage with critiques of what Lisa Duggan has called “the new homonormativity . . . a politics that does not contest dominant heteronormative assumptions and institutions but upholds and sustains them.”1 In the time that has elapsed since the Radical History Review’s last explicit foray into queer history — the “Queer” issue, RHR 62 (1995) — this process has been abundantly evident in numerous cultural and political scenes over the past four decades, as this issue’s contributors amply demonstrate. While we do not want to reinforce the notion that the concept of homonormativity originated with or is limited to the confines of academic work, the configuration of homonormativity in current circulation is part of a broader turn toward political economy in contemporary queer academic and activist work. It challenges the preoccupations and objectives of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender)/queer culture and community as many of its members move toward what Gayle Rubin identified, in 1984, as “the charmed circle” of sex — those practices and identities that receive social sanction.2 This issue of RHR asks what this mainstreaming will mean for queer futures. But first, we want to glance backward at the recent queer past.
By Various, 2008