Rural areas are popularly perceived as conservative and hostile to difference, particularly that of sexual non-conformity. As the growing body of research on non-urban gay men shows, rural queer networks have been an historical reality. Shifting the focus onto gay women, this thesis is concerned with lesbians who lived rurally in British Columbia during a period of rapid urbanization in the province and the establishment of public lesbian bar cultures in cities across North America. Using oral history interviews with nine women who lived rurally from 1950 to 1980, this thesis contributes to the literature challenging the urban-rural divide and utilizes circulation to understand how queers have negotiated space. This work explores these lesbians’ mobility and the ways in which they were integrated into their rural communities, as well as demonstrates the existence of rich lesbian cultures and communities during this era.
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