“When I first started this research, few newspapers had digitalized their archives, making it nearly impossible to search for such crimes. Newspapers did not catalog “gay murders” in the decades before Stonewall. Even when the indexes began using the word “homosexual” in the late 1930s, it wouldn’t get me too far beyond sensationalized accounts or opinion pieces about “sex deviants.” But as more newspaper collections were digitalized, a new research strategy opened up. I could now focus on particular search terms such as “man found slain in hotel,” or “man found beaten in park” or “sailor found murdered.” These searches eventually produced pages and pages of articles that I would sift through searching for the clues to queer crime stories. From these leads, I searched the names of the victims or killers, which usually generated additional articles detailing the crime scene, the search for the assailants, arrests reports and, sometimes, reports on the court trials and sentence hearings….”
An article in TIME History about my research and writing process. Read more at TIME .