Many of the bloggers who have picked it up have made insightful comments and rather than sprinkle the answers all over the 'net, I thought I would try to respond here. If you have additional questions, post or email them. I am in the final month of the semester -- AKA Grading Hell - but I will try to answer as many as possible.
UNC Sociologist Philip Cohen asks the $64,000 question:
"So, what would a gay 5-year-old in 1884 have done?"
That's a great question, and one that I was only able to raise -- and not to answer definitively -- in the book. My guess is:
- gay children still felt "different" as they gained awareness of cultural norms and expectations
- this sense of difference was mitigated and probably delayed because early childhood culture was less gender binary than it is today. In the baby books I examined, baby dolls were common gifts for both boys and girls at their first Christmas or birthday.
- the transition to boy clothing and the first haircut might have been more jarring for boys who were comfortable in feminized "baby"styles.