POP! Goes Queer History

William J. Mann, author, professor, historian

Presenter and Consultant to schools, clubs, businesses, political / government organizations, historical societies, museums, and more

Understanding Queer History Through a Pop Culture and Intersectional Lens

Incorporate LGBTQ History into your classrooms, staff trainings, and exhibits

History matters. With the rise of “Don’t Say Gay” policies around the country, there’s never been a more urgent moment to share and celebrate LGBTQ history in all its richness, diversity, and cultural significance. Queer youth and adults are empowered when they learn about their heritage, while straight youth and adults are enriched by discovering a world that is rarely taught to them. As a historian of both the LGBTQ past and American popular culture, I enable these often-unknown histories to POP! into full and vivid life. By using a pop culture lens on the past, I make this history accessible, moving, and fun.

I offer in-person and virtual presentations on LGBTQ history, from both a national and, when requested, a local Connecticut / New England perspective. I also offer consultation on developing LGBTQ curricula, presentations, or exhibits, and seminars on how to research and document LGBTQ history both locally and nationally. As history is the living, breathing story of all of us, I bring an intersectional view to the past, understanding the LGBTQ story is as much about race, gender, and class as much as it is about sexual orientation.

About William J Mann

During eight years as assistant professor of history at Central Connecticut State University (2014-2022) and four years (2018-2022) as LGBTQ Center director, I developed and taught courses on LGBTQ History, History of AIDS, LGBTQ Public History, LGBTQ Film, LGBTQ Fiction, and American Popular Culture. In collaborations with Connecticut Landmarks, the Hartford Jewish Historical Society, and the Connecticut Historical Society, I directed my students in local public history projects, including a popular traveling exhibit of Connecticut’s LGBTQ history with CHS.

As a New York Times-bestselling author, I’ve written biographies of such cultural and political figures as Katharine Hepburn, Marlon Brando, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, Elizabeth Taylor, Barbra Streisand, and the Roosevelt family. In Tinseltown, I documented the rise of the American film industry set against an unsolved celebrity murder. In Wisecracker and Behind the Screen, I chronicled how gay men and lesbians shaped Hollywood and therefore the American dream. In Edge of Midnight, I worked with Oscar-winning director John Schlesinger to tell his story as an openly gay man in both the British and American film industries from the 1960s to the 2000s.