Audio Review

Fresh Air: The Queer History Of The Women’s House Of Detention

In New York City, in the 20th century, tens of thousands of women and transmasculine people were incarcerated at the so-called “House of D.” Author Hugh Ryan says that in many cases, the prisoners were charged with crimes related to gender non-conforming behavior. “Drunkenness, waywardism, disobedience to their parents, being out at night by themselves, wearing pants, accepting a date from a man, accepting a ride from a man,” Ryan says. “All of these things could have gotten you arrested if you were perceived as the ‘wrong kind of woman.'” In his new book, The Women’s House of Detention, Ryan writes about the prison, and about the role it played in the gay rights movement of the ’60s, including the Stonewall Uprising of 1969.

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