Queens, hookers, and hustlers: Organizing for survival and revolt amongst gender-variant sex workers, 1950-1970

A selection from Mack Friedman’s Strapped for Cash: A History of American Hustler Culture.

Submitted by wojtek on March 13, 2013

From the Introduction:

“The history of the resistance of gender-variant misfits and rebels is incomplete without understanding the central role of hooker networks that united hustlers, queens, hair fairies, and radicals during the 1950s and ’60s, a pivotal era that led to the first gay riots that had the police fleeing the streets in San Francisco and New York. Yet most published accounts of “transgender” history neglect a thorough examination of street queen and hustler culture. We know vaguely about the admirable radical exploits of Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, and the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries, yet few authors have situated their projects (opening houses for trans kids on the street, hustling for rent and for raising funds for the radical wing of Gay Liberation) within a history in which these practices were regular occurrences among the informal networks of queens and hustlers turning tricks and defending each other from violence in many urban areas across the United States.”