Wendy Rouse

Wendy Rouse

Department of History


LGBTQ, Queer History, Women's History, Progressive Era History, LGBTQ History


Current Research Activities

I have recently written a book titled: Public Faces, Secret Lives: A Queer History of the Women's Suffrage Movement (NYU Press, 2022). This book explores how suffragists both reinforced and challenged heteronormative views of gender and sexuality while also highlighting the role of queer suffragists in the movement. The traditional narrative of suffrage history sanitized the private lives and public personas of individual suffragists contributing to the historical erasure of the lives and loves of prominent queer suffragists. Yet, it was through these intimate partnerships that suffragists forged powerful personal alliances, often across national and transnational boundaries that proved essential to propelling the suffrage movement forward. This research considers the stories of several lesser-known queer suffragists who dedicated their lives to furthering the suffrage cause even as they deflected criticism about their personal relationships and/or gender non-conformity.


Research Connections to Current Events

As a result of legislation like California's FAIR Education Act, K-12 educators are presently working on ways of integrating the history of gender and sexuality into their classrooms. This is especially important work in light of ongoing attacks on LGBTQ+ people. This work helps render queer individuals visible in history and allows modern LGBTQ+ students to see themselves in the past and present. My research adds to a growing body of scholarly work that seeks to expand our understanding of the story and helps educators integrate these stories into their curriculum.


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