I would like to know how male homosexuals were treated in the Old West. Were there whorehouses where men could go for male sex? And, are there any books on the subject?

 

I would like to know how male homosexuals were treated in the Old West. Were there whorehouses where men could go for male sex? And, are there any books on the subject?

Name and city
withheld by request

An Old West saying goes: “Men were men; women were scarce; and the sheep were nervous.”

Homosexuality was a topic not openly discussed among Western men, so there isn’t much written about it in primary sources. Which isn’t to say it wasn’t practiced, as men far outnumbered women in the West.

In 1849, San Francisco, men outnumbered women 50 to one. In 1860, Virginia City, Nevada, there were 2,206 men and only 30 women. That same year in Denver, only one woman lived among 1,650 men.

During the 1970s, some academic historians suggested the possibility of homosexuality among cowboys. This belief incurred the wrath of many Western historians like Dean Krakel, managing director of the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, who declared, “those scholars have no background and are demeaning the true cowboy.”

In my opinion, homosexuality did occur but was strictly taboo and not practiced openly.

Related Posts

  • Illustration by Bob Boze Bell

    In 1859, Arizona’s first newspaper, The Arizonian, reported on a duel in Tubac, Arizona. An…

  • In 1857 Lt. Joseph Christmas Ives commanded an expedition to explore the Colorado River. After…

  • How many men did Roy Bean, the “Law West of the Pecos” hang? Bert Smyth…