Tag Archives: Vintage Gay

Vintage gay

I found this photo of William Dorsey Swann (1858 – 1925) online and was intrigued to learn more. Swann who was born into slavery is an American gay liberation activist, and the first person in the US to lead a queer resistance group. He is the first known person to self-identify as a “queen of drag”. Below is a write-up I also found about this amazing man who was way ahead of his time.

In 1888, one of first recorded and widely-publicized arrests in the United States for gender impersonation took place at an event in the home of William Dorsey Swann, a Black man.  Less than a mile from the White House, Swann and twelve other Black people were arrested and charged with vagrancy after police raided a secret drag dance he was hosting. The following day the headline in the Evening Star read “Colored Men in Female Attire.” Swann — the queen of the ball — was himself “arrayed in a gorgeous dress of cream-colored satin,” but unlike the others, he ran frantically toward the officers in a vain attempt to keep them from entering the two-story residence in northwest Washington, D.C. They were ordered to pay a bond or serve 30 days in jail, and their names were published in the local papers the next day for all the city to read. A year prior, in January 1887, another such dance was also raided. This one had featured both white and Black invitees — and several of the same people had been arrested, including Swann.

Available evidence hints that queens intentionally changed the locations of their parties in order to evade law enforcement. Through informants, detectives were keeping an eye on Swann and the others. On New Year’s Eve of 1895, after the men had successfully eluded the authorities for years, the police abruptly walked into Swann’s home to disrupt a gathering that had only just begun. The officers arrested the host, charging him with keeping a disorderly house. Three black guests were also taken in and charged with vagrancy, while three white guests faced no charges but were summoned as “witnesses.”

Swann was found guilty and sentenced to 10 months in jail. The judge, who said Swann’s home had become a “hell of iniquity,” told the court he wished he had had the power to impose a 10-year sentence instead.

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I dedicate this weekly post, featuring vintage gay photographs, to the men and women who lived in a more critical time where being true to yourself and loving who you want wasn’t always an option and came at a great price. Do you have a photo you would like to share? Email me at bosguymail@gmail.com.

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Vintage gay

Damn these two make for a handsome couple. I’m guessing this dates to the 1960s but unsure. What do you think?

I dedicate this weekly post, featuring vintage gay photographs, to the men and women who lived in a more critical time where being true to yourself and loving who you want wasn’t always an option and came at a great price. Do you have a photo you would like to share? Email me at bosguymail@gmail.com.

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Vintage gay

I love this week’s photo for two reasons. First, I can’t help but think these guys look so happy and relaxed together but also because I love when there are photographs with a car. Automobiles can help date when a picture was taken. Anyone out there recognize this car and able to guess when the picture may have been taken?

I dedicate this weekly post, featuring vintage gay photographs, to the men and women who lived in a more critical time where being true to yourself and loving who you want wasn’t always an option and came at a great price. Do you have a photo you would like to share? Email me at bosguymail@gmail.com.

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Vintage gay

These two certainly make for a handsome couple. I love how the guy on the right rests his chin on the shoulder of the other man. One reason I like these posts is I love to make up stories in my head about who the people are or imagine what they might be thinking when they are being photographed. In this case, I can’t help but think they look so happy and relaxed together in the photo. Anyone care to guess when this may have been taken? I’m at a loss.

I dedicate this weekly post, featuring vintage gay photographs, to the men and women who lived in a more critical time where being true to yourself and loving who you want wasn’t always an option and came at a great price. Do you have a photo you would like to share? Email me at bosguymail@gmail.com.

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Vintage gay

I want to thank BosGuy blog reader, Angel, who sent this photo as a suggestion for this weekly post. I think it works beautifully. I do wish the photo was more clear to better see what appears to be two very handsome young men under a tree, side-by-side in a half embrace while enjoying a pipe. It looks as if the guy on the right has on a wedding band which makes me wonder if it is two men enjoying time together as friends or maybe something more. Any thoughts on when this photo may have been taken based on their clothing and haircuts?

I dedicate this weekly post, featuring vintage gay photographs, to the men and women who lived in a more critical time where being true to yourself and loving who you want wasn’t always an option and came at a great price. Do you have a photo you would like to share? Email me at bosguymail@gmail.com.

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Vintage gay

I may have previously shared this photo. It looks vaguely familiar but I didn’t see it after doing a brief but not a thorough check of fairly recent posts. It is difficult to find quality photos of men of color from years past – let alone those of same sex couples. It is hard to say if these men are romantically linked but they certainly would make for a handsome couple. Any thoughts on when this was taken? My guess is in the 1950s.

I dedicate this weekly post, featuring vintage gay photographs, to the men and women who lived in a more critical time where being true to yourself and loving who you want wasn’t always an option and came at a great price. Do you have a photo you would like to share? Email me at bosguymail@gmail.com.

Previous Vintage Gay Photos

Vintage gay

If you like my weekly vintage gay posts and are on Pintrest, I suggest you follow Jeff Stookey. His account collects vintage images that you are certain to enjoy. I want to thank him for reaching out and sharing his account. Who can say for sure if these men are friends or something more. Perhaps there is more than meets the eye to their relationship. Regardless it is a great photo from the late 20s.

I dedicate this weekly post, featuring vintage gay photographs, to the men and women who lived in a more critical time where being true to yourself and loving who you want wasn’t always an option and came at a great price. Do you have a photo you would like to share? Email me at bosguymail@gmail.com.

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Vintage gay

This week’s vintage gay photo comes from the Twitter account @oldmasc. Just a heads up if you want to click on the link – this is a NSFW Twitter account so don’t say I didn’t warn you! Thanks to the note at the bottom of the photo we can clearly see that the photograph was taken in 1936. Does anyone recognize where this may have been taken? When I zoom in on the image I cannot make out the boardwalk signs but I’m wondering if anyone has a guess.

I dedicate this weekly post, featuring vintage gay photographs, to the men and women who lived in a more critical time where being true to yourself and loving who you want wasn’t always an option and came at a great price. Do you have a photo you would like to share? Email me at bosguymail@gmail.com.

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Vintage gay

Much thanks to Tennessee Tony for sharing this week’s vintage gay photo. These two look like school boys to me. What do you think? I’d love to know what their story is. They are clearly close – look at how they touch from their shoulders to their feet. Anyone have a clue when this picture may have been taken?

I dedicate this weekly post, featuring vintage gay photographs, to the men and women who lived in a more critical time where being true to yourself and loving who you want wasn’t always an option and came at a great price. Do you have a photo you would like to share? Email me at bosguymail@gmail.com.

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Vintage gay

This week’s photo comes from the blog homohistory.com. No information was provided about where or when this picture was taken but these two men photographed in an embrace look to be possibly from the 1940s. Can anyone shed some light on the photo?

I dedicate this weekly post, featuring vintage gay photographs, to the men and women who lived in a more critical time where being true to yourself and loving who you want wasn’t always an option and came at a great price. Do you have a photo you would like to share? Email me at bosguymail@gmail.com.

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Vintage gay

Much thanks to BosGuy.com reader, Angel, for sharing this photo with me earlier this spring for my weekly Vintage Gay post. I’m assuming this may have been taken in a photo booth since many gay men would / could use these to catch a quick kiss or embrace away from prying eyes. You can see how happy the guy on the left is – his eyes say it all. Anyone recognize these navy uniforms to be able to date and place them?

I dedicate this weekly post, featuring vintage gay photographs, to the men and women who lived in a more critical time where being true to yourself and loving who you want wasn’t always an option and came at a great price. Do you have a photo you would like to share? Email me at bosguymail@gmail.com.

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Vintage gay

This week’s photo comes from the blog gaytwogether. The .com site seems to be no longer active but the link to the typepad site seems to have a number of photos and is a great website to peruse if you like my weekly vintage gay post. When do you think this happy couple was photographed? I really have no clue but assume this may have been taken in the 1950s or 60s based on hair style and the fact that they are so uncovered.

I dedicate this weekly post, featuring vintage gay photographs, to the men and women who lived in a more critical time where being true to yourself and loving who you want wasn’t always an option and came at a great price. Do you have a photo you would like to share? Email me at bosguymail@gmail.com.

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Vintage gay

Much thanks to Tennessee Tony for sharing this week’s vintage gay photo. Both of these guys are quite attractive. I’d love to get a better look at the car they are canoodling beside, to get a better feel for when this photograph may have been snapped. Anyone have a clue when this picture may have been taken?

I dedicate this weekly post, featuring vintage gay photographs, to the men and women who lived in a more critical time where being true to yourself and loving who you want wasn’t always an option and came at a great price. Do you have a photo you would like to share? Email me at bosguymail@gmail.com.

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Vintage gay

This photo comes from the private group on Facebook, Vintage Working Man Beefcake. I always like getting photos of servicemen because their uniforms can usually help date and sometimes even locate the men. Does anyone recognize these uniforms? When or where do you think this chummy couple is posing? I love how the guy on the left is clasping the hand and they lean in to each other despite the camera obviously being quite a distance away from them.

I dedicate this weekly post, featuring vintage gay photographs, to the men and women who lived in a more critical time where being true to yourself and loving who you want wasn’t always an option and came at a great price. Do you have a photo you would like to share? Email me at bosguymail@gmail.com.

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Vintage gay

Much thanks to my friend Jim L for sharing this photo with the hand written note “Let not your hearts be troubled”. I can’t imagine what that might be referring to and think the heart-shape cut out for the photo seems quite sweet. Does anyone have any guesses on when or where this photograph may have been taken?

I dedicate this weekly post, featuring vintage gay photographs, to the men and women who lived in a more critical time where being true to yourself and loving who you want wasn’t always an option and came at a great price. Do you have a photo you would like to share? Email me at bosguymail@gmail.com.

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