Skip to product information
1 of 1

The Women's House of Detention

The Women's House of Detention

A Queer History of a Forgotten Prison

Hugh Ryan
Regular price $19.99
Regular price Sale price $19.99
Sale Sold out
Shipping calculated at checkout.
Binding

This singular history of a prison, and the queer women and trans people held there, is a window into the policing of queerness and radical politics in the twentieth century.

The Women's House of Detention, a landmark that ushered in the modern era of women's imprisonment, is now largely forgotten. But when it stood in New York City's Greenwich Village, from 1929 to 1974, it was a nexus for the tens of thousands of women, transgender men, and gender-nonconforming people who inhabited its crowded cells. Some of these inmates--Angela Davis, Andrea Dworkin, Afeni Shakur--were famous, but the vast majority were incarcerated for the crimes of being poor and improperly feminine. Today, approximately 40 percent of the people in women's prisons identify as queer; in earlier decades, that percentage was almost certainly higher.

Historian Hugh Ryan explores the roots of this crisis of queer and trans incarceration, connecting misogyny, racism, state-sanctioned sexual violence, colonialism, sex work, and the failures of prison reform. And he reconstructs the little-known lives of hundreds of incarcerated New Yorkers, making a uniquely queer case for prison abolition in the process. From the lesbian communities forged through the House of D to the turbulent prison riots that presaged Stonewall, this is the story of one building and so much more--the people it caged, the neighborhood it changed, and the resistance it inspired.

 

Hugh Ryan is a writer and curator. His first book, When Brooklyn Was Queer, won a 2020 New York City Book Award, was a New York Times Editors' Choice in 2019, and was a finalist for the Randy Shilts and Lambda Literary Awards. He was honored with the 2020 Allan Berube Prize from the American Historical Association. In 2019-2021, he worked on the Hidden Voices: LGBTQ+ Stories in U.S. History curricular materials for the NYC Department of Education.

 

  • Publisher: ‎Bold Type Books (May 10, 2022)
  • Language: ‎English
  • Hardcover: ‎368 pages
  • ISBN-10: ‎1645036669
  • ISBN-13: ‎9781645036661
  • Item Weight: ‎1.74 pounds
View full details