Welcome to Fairyland

Queer Miami before 1940

By Julio Capó Jr.

400 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 26 halftones, 2 maps, 1 table, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-3520-0
    Published: November 2017
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-3519-4
    Published: November 2017
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-3521-7
    Published: October 2017

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Awards & distinctions

2018 Rembert Patrick Award, Florida Historical Society

2018 Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore Award, Florida Historical Society

2018 Stetson Kennedy Award, Florida Historical Society

Bronze Medal, 2017 Florida Book Awards, Florida Nonfiction

Finalist, Lambda Literary Award, LGBTQ Studies

Poised on the edge of the United States and at the center of a wider Caribbean world, today’s Miami is marketed as an international tourist hub that embraces gender and sexual difference. As Julio Capó Jr. shows in this fascinating history, Miami’s transnational connections reveal that the city has been a queer borderland for over a century. In chronicling Miami’s queer past from its 1896 founding through 1940, Capó shows the multifaceted ways gender and sexual renegades made the city their own.

Drawing from a multilingual archive, Capó unearths the forgotten history of "fairyland," a marketing term crafted by boosters that held multiple meanings for different groups of people. In viewing Miami as a contested colonial space, he turns our attention to migrants and immigrants, tourism, and trade to and from the Caribbean--particularly the Bahamas, Cuba, and Haiti--to expand the geographic and methodological parameters of urban and queer history. Recovering the world of Miami’s old saloons, brothels, immigration checkpoints, borders, nightclubs, bars, and cruising sites, Capó makes clear how critical gender and sexual transgression is to understanding the city and the broader region in all its fullness.

About the Author

Julio Capo Jr. is assistant professor of history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
For more information about Julio Capó Jr., visit the Author Page.

Reviews

“For any history buff, Capó’s book is truly a gem that sheds a lot of light on an era in [Florida] that gets little notoriety outside of the gay media circuit.”--South Florida Gay News

“Grapples with important questions such as under what historical circumstances norms get shaped, bifurcated, and become hegemonic. Capó Jr.’s work is an extraordinary contribution that offers innovative ways for understanding the role of gender and sexuality in shaping the social, cultural, and urban landscape of Miami.”--Black Perspectives

Welcome to Fairyland eschews the earlier scholarly impulse in lesbian and gay studies to produce histories of same-sex desire and community-building without grappling with how gender, race, and class inequities structured differential access to spaces of leisure and transgression where those formations might have emerged.”--Los Angeles Review of Books

"Eloquently written, exquisitely analyzed, and impeccably researched, this is one of the best works of scholarship I have read in a long time. Julio Capó Jr. gives voice to whole communities of people whose lived experiences have largely been rendered invisible. The result is a work of national significance."--Melanie Shell-Weiss, Grand Valley State University

"Welcome to Fairyland will take its place as one of the best-known and most valuable studies of queer urban history in the United States."--Marc Stein, San Francisco State University