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Plane Queer Labor, Sexuality, and AIDS in the History of Male Flight Attendants by Philip James Tiemeyer

Plane Queer Labor, Sexuality, and AIDS in the History of Male Flight Attendants


Plane Queer Labor, Sexuality, and AIDS in the History of Male Flight Attendants by Philip James Tiemeyer

In this vibrant new history, Phil Tiemeyer details the history of men working as flight attendants. Beginning with the founding of the profession in the late 1920s and continuing into the post-September 11 era, Plane Queer examines the history of men who joined workplaces customarily identified as female-oriented. It examines the various hardships these men faced at work, paying particular attention to the conflation of gender-based, sexuality-based, and AIDS-based discrimination. Tiemeyer also examines how this heavily gay-identified group of workers created an important place for gay men to come out, garner acceptance from their fellow workers, fight homophobia and AIDS phobia, and advocate for LGBT civil rights. All the while, male flight attendants facilitated key breakthroughs in gender-based civil rights law, including an important expansion of the ways that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act would protect workers from sex discrimination. Throughout their history, men working as flight attendants helped evolve an industry often identified with American adventuring, technological innovation, and economic power into a queer space.


A stunning success and an enormously important contribution to not only LGBT history, but also to the labor, feminist, legal, aviation, and AIDS historiographic literatures... Plane Queer is essential reading for anybody interested in LGBT history... Pick the book up. Read it. You won't be disappointed, I promise. -- Chrislove Daily Kos In this seemingly narrow demographic, Tiemeyer finds notable achievements in equal rights, from the first workplace health benefits for domestic partners, in 2001, to a 1984 legal decision forcing an airline to reinstate a flight attendant with AIDS, which he argues was a key step in the run-up to the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act. -- Don Sapatkin Philadelphia Inquirer Tiemeyer's fascinating, in-depth study reveals that the very assumption that male flight attendants are gay has led to major conflicts--and major progress. -- Jim Gladstone Passport Magazine

About the Author

Phil Tiemeyer is Assistant Professor of History at Philadelphia University.

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Book Info

Publication date

26th March 2013


Philip James Tiemeyer

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University of California Press


302 pages


History of the Americas
Employment & unemployment
Gay & Lesbian studies



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