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Lambda Literary: Land of 10,000 Loves

By Rachel Wexelbaum
Lambda Literary

In a few weeks, Minnesotans will vote on whether or not to approve an amendment to the state constitution which would define marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. The people who constructed this amendment implied that gay and lesbian couples are a foreign, un-Minnesotan element that should be driven from the state. If these fearful straight folks had learned about the existence and accomplishments of LGBT Minnesotans in their history classes, they never would have dreamed of this amendment in the first place. In addition to University of Minnesota Press’ recent publication Queer Twin Cities, Stewart Van Cleve’s Land of 10,000 Loves: A History of Queer Minnesota would fill a much-needed information gap in our state.

Van Cleve, a fourth generation Minnesotan, used to work as an assistant curator at the Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection, one of the largest LGBT special collections in the United States, at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis (U of M). Van Cleve had learned about the collection because, as an undergraduate, he had the good fortune of taking a course called “GLBT Social Movements,” where Jean-Nickolaus Tretter himself gave a guest lecture about the collection.

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Land of 10,000 Loves