1950's Photo Booth Provided A Safe Space For Gay Couples
While PDA amongst gay men may be common place in 2014, these photos from 1953 remind us of an era where our love was not only looked down upon (okay--so some things haven't completely changed) but was illegal.
Thankfully, brave gentlemen like Joseph John Bertrund Belanger were able to find safe spaces for expression--perhaps most intimately in this photo booth, which captured his romance for posterity!
It was taken in 1953, a time when purposefully vague statutes on morals, lewd conduct, or disorderly conduct in many states allowed the police to target and arrest gay and lesbian people for such transgressions as wearing items of clothing of the opposite sex, propositioning someone of the same sex, or even holding hands with a member of the same sex. This photo could have gotten these men arrested.
The image is part of the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the University of Southern California Libraries – the largest repository of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer materials in the world. The picture was once owned by the young man on the right-hand side of the image above, Joseph John Bertrund Belanger. Belanger, for most of his life, was a devoted collector of LGBT history. Born in Edmonton, Canada, in 1925, he served in the Royal Canadian Air Force and was a member of the Mattachine Society – an early instance of what today would be called an LGBT organization — in the early 1950s. It is thanks to his passion and foresight that the image survives today.
We love these!! We'll have to pay the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at USC a visit!!