To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
It is truly a pleasure and an honor to have my work read by five such esteemed colleagues, and I want to begin by thanking all of them for the thoughtfulness and care of their essays, and also to express my gratitude to Darren Dochuk for organizing this exchange. After working in (pandemic-exacerbated) isolation for so long, it is fascinating for me to see the book through others’ eyes, to appreciate what has resonated, and to grapple with questions and qualms as well.
In the late 1990s, an American serviceman was tried for an unusual crime of larceny: the court ruled that the serviceman had entered into a sham heterosexual marriage in order to obtain government benefits for himself and his male partner. Specifically, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces asserted that the serviceman had married a lesbian and then applied for a military allowance to live off-barracks with his “dependent” in Makakilo, Hawaii. But, in reality, the serviceman’s wife lived in her apartment in Honolulu while the serviceman used the allowance to support a household with his male lover. In his testimony, the serviceman admitted to homosexual conduct, but denied that his infidelity had any bearing on the legitimacy of his marriage. He told the court that while his wife’s job kept her in Honolulu, he put her name on the lease because he expected her to move in with him in the future. In the meantime, he said, they spent weekends together whenever his schedule permitted. But the prosecution responded with evidence from the serviceman’s friends who admitted that the soldier “got married to live off base, that it was a business deal.” The wife got the privileges of the military’s “dependent ID card,” these soldiers told the court, and “there was nothing more to it than that.”
This essay uses court records to trace the federal government's attempts to regulate homosexuality among immigrants in the mid-twentieth century, asserting that such attempts illustrate the state's struggle to make homosexuality visible, to produce a homosexuality that could be both detected and managed. I focus on the process by which two competing paradigms for understanding homosexuality (status and conduct) were consolidated into a single model in which homosexual identity could be deduced from homosexual acts. Federal officials and the courts initially treated homosexuality as a form of conduct, most commonly deporting homosexual aliens for having committed crimes of moral turpitude. Later, these same government entities relied on status provisions, deporting immigrants charged with homosexuality as aliens “afflicted with psychopathic personality.” While the “psychopathic personality” terminology supported the notion that the homosexual was a kind of person rather than a set of behaviors, it also depended upon psychiatrists to support the claim that homosexuals were by definition psychopathic. When many psychiatrists distanced themselves from that idea, the government refused psychiatric opinion that differentiated psychopaths from homosexuals by arguing that these terms connoted legal-political rather than medicalized identity categories. While this conception arose out of a conservative impulse by immigration officials and the courts to fix homosexuality as identity so that it could be regulated (by bureaucrats rather than psychiatrists), I argue that the emphasis on legal-political identity categories licensed a conception of the homosexual as a kind of citizen that had some emancipatory as well as repressive effects.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.