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Gender & Sexual Diversity

Colonial Williamsburg is committed to sharing a more complete history of America, enabling all audiences to connect with the past. Central to this mission is our ongoing research to uncover the stories of the diverse population that resided in Williamsburg in and around the time of Revolution — people from all backgrounds, races, gender identities, and social levels. Recently, this research has begun to address the archival silence around LGBTQIA+ history.

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Additional Resources

Learn even more about Gender & Sexual Diversity by exploring these resources from both our museum and other trusted institutions.



  • Aldrich, Robert. Colonialism and homosexuality. New York: Routledge, 2003.
  • Barker-Benfield, G. J. The culture of sensibility: sex and society in eighteenth-century Britain. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992.
  • Benemann, William. Male-male intimacy in early America: beyond romantic friendships. New York: Harrington Park Press, 2006.
  • Benemann, William. Men in Eden: William Drummond Stewart and same-sex desire in the Rocky Mountain fur trade. Lincoln, NA: University of Nebraska Press, 2012.
  • Berry, Daina Ramey, and Leslie M. Harris. Sexuality and Slavery: Reclaiming Intimate Histories in the Americas. Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press, 2018.
  • Cleves, Rachel Hope. Charity and Sylvia: a same-sex marriage in early America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.
  • Constantine-Simms, Delroy. The Greatest Taboo: Homosexuality in Black Communities. Los Angeles: Alyson Books, 2001.
  • D’Emilio, John., and Estelle B. Freedman. Intimate Matters: a History of Sexuality in America. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2012.
  • Donoghue, Emma. Passions between women: British lesbian culture 1668-1801. New York: HarperCollins, 1995.
  • Duberman, Martin B., Martha. Vicinus, and George. Chauncey. Hidden from History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past. New York, N.Y: Penguin Group, 1990.
  • Faderman, Lillian. Surpassing the Love of Men: Romantic Friendship and Love Between Women from the Renaissance to the Present. New York: Morrow, 1981.
  • Fischer, Kirsten. Suspect Relations: Sex, Race, and Resistance in Colonial North Carolina. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2002.
  • Foster, Thomas A. Long before Stonewall: histories of same-sex sexuality in early America. New York: New York University Press, 2007.
  • Foster, Thomas A. New Men: Manliness in Early America. New York: New York University Press, 2011.
  • Foster, Thomas A. Rethinking Rufus: Sexual Violations of Enslaved Men. Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press, 2019.
  • Foster, Thomas A. Sex and the eighteenth-century man: Massachusetts and the history of sexuality in America. Boston : Beacon Press, 2006.
  • Godbeer, Richard. The Overflowing of Friendship: Love Between Men and the Creation of the American Republic. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009.
  • Godbeer, Richard. Sexual Revolution in Early America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002.
  • Halberstam, Judith. Female masculinity. Durham N.C.: Duke University Press, 1998.
  • Kann, Mark E. Taming Passion for the Public Good: Policing Sex in the Early Republic. New York: New York University Press, 2013.
  • Katz, Jonathan. Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A.: a Documentary History. Rev. ed. New York, N.Y., U.S.A: Meridian, 1992.
  • Katz, Jonathan. Love stories: sex between men before homosexuality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press 2001.
  • Laqueur, Thomas Walter. Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1990.
  • Lister, Anne and Helena Whitbread. I Know My Own Heart: the Diaries of Anne Lister, 1791-1840. New York: New York University Press, 1992.
  • Lussana, Sergio. My Brother Slaves: Friendship, Masculinity, and Resistance in the Antebellum South. Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky, 2016.
  • Lyons, Clare A. Sex Among the Rabble : an Intimate History of Gender & Power in the Age of Revolution, Philadelphia, 1730-1830. Chapel Hill: Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia, by the University of North Carolina Press, 2006.
  • Nardi, Peter M. Men’s Friendships. Newbury Park: Sage Publications, 1992.
  • Romesburg, Don. The Routledge History of Queer America. New York, NY: Routledge, 2018.
  • Rupp, Leila J. Sapphistries : a Global History of Love Between Women. New York: New York University Press, 2009.
  • Van Duyvenbode, R. The Delectable Negro: human consumption and homoeroticism within US slave culture. UK: Taylor and Francis, 2015.
  • Vicinus, Martha. Intimate Friends: Women Who Loved Women, 1778-1928. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004.
  • Wahl, Elizabeth Susan. Invisible relations: representations of female intimacy in the Age of Enlightenment. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press 1999.

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