Second Tuesday Presents:
Hugh Ryan and “The Women's House of Detention: A Queer History of a Forgotten Prison”
The Center is proud to welcome Victoria Law in conversation with historian Hugh Ryan and his new book “The Women’s House of Detention: A Queer History of a Forgotten Prison.” The Women’s House of Detention, a landmark that ushered in the modern era of women’s imprisonment, is now largely forgotten. But when it stood in New York City’s Greenwich Village, from 1929 to 1974, it was a nexus for the tens of thousands of women, transgender men, and gender-nonconforming people who inhabited its crowded cells. Some of these inmates—Angela Davis, Andrea Dworkin, Afeni Shakur—were famous, but the vast majority were incarcerated for the crimes of being poor and improperly feminine. Today, approximately 40 percent of the people in women’s prisons identify as queer; in earlier decades, that percentage was almost certainly higher.
Purchase The Women’s House of Detention: A Queer History of a Forgotten Prison from the Bureau of General Services—Queer Division’s online store by May 10, 2022, and receive 15% off with this promotional code: ZSP1GYW9ASO7
On the checkout page, click on the text “redeem your code” beneath the total. Enter the code in the box marked “enter your coupon code.”
The Bureau will also be on hand at the event to sell copies of The Women’s House of Detention ($30).
Ryan explores the roots of this crisis of queer and trans incarceration, connecting misogyny, racism, state-sanctioned sexual violence, colonialism, sex work, and the failures of prison reform. And he reconstructs the little-known lives of hundreds of incarcerated New Yorkers, making a uniquely queer case for prison abolition in the process. From the lesbian communities forged through the House of D to the turbulent prison riots that presaged Stonewall, this is the story of one building and so much more—the people it caged, the neighborhood it changed, and the resistance it inspired.
ABOUT HUGH RYAN
Hugh Ryan is a writer and curator. His first book, When Brooklyn Was Queer, won a 2020 New York City Book Award, was a New York Times Editors’ Choice in 2019, and was a finalist for the Randy Shilts and Lambda Literary Awards. He was honored with the 2020 Allan Berube Prize from the American Historical Association. In 2019-2021, he worked on the Hidden Voices: LGBTQ+ Stories in U.S. History curricular materials for the NYC Department of Education.
ABOUT VICTORIA LAW
Victoria Law is a freelance journalist and author. Her books include Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women (PM Press 2009), Prison By Any Other Name:The Harmful Consequences of Popular Reform (New Press 2020), and “Prisons Make Us Safer” and 20 Other Myths About Mass Incarceration (Beacon Press 2021). She frequently writes about the intersections between mass incarceration, gender and resistance.
To request an accommodate on for this event, please contact Richard Morales at firstname.lastname@example.org by May 5, 2022.
Please note: We are thrilled to be welcoming our community back to in-person events with The Center! Our utmost priority is the health and safety of our staff, visitors, and community. The Center is actively monitoring the ongoing situation with COVID-19 as well as the guidelines from New York City, New York State, and the CDC. The Center will keep guests apprised of all requirements for entry to the building and will continue to update gaycenter.org/building-reopening with current safety policies.