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Citizen, Invert, QueerLesbianism and War in Early Twentieth-Century Britain$
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Deborah Cohler

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780816649754

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816649754.001.0001

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“A more Splendid Citizenship”: Prewar Feminism, Eugenics, and Sex Radicals

“A more Splendid Citizenship”: Prewar Feminism, Eugenics, and Sex Radicals

Chapter:
(p.73) Chapter 3 “A more Splendid Citizenship”: Prewar Feminism, Eugenics, and Sex Radicals
Source:
Citizen, Invert, Queer
Author(s):

Deborah Cohler

Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816649754.003.0003

In the 1910s, birth control, free love, and male homosexuality appeared frequently as topics alongside women’s suffrage in the pages of the Dora Marsden’s Freewoman journal. Yet any significant discussion of female homosexuality is notably absent among these frank discussion. This chapter explores the paucity of representations of prewar female homosexuality in the face of frequent discussions of male homosexuality and female heterosexuality among prewar feminists. By reading debates over spinsters, male homosexuality, and sex reform by a group of self-styled sex radicals, it traces the emergence of female homosexuality as a representational possibility in the years leading up to the Great War. It argues that the terms through which this category emerged reflect a struggle over the meaning of British sexual subjectivity and the nation’s eugenic future.

Keywords:   prewar discursive politics, female homosexuality, Dora Marsden, male homosexuality, prewar feminists

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