LGBTQ+ people have always been at pop’s vanguard, as performers and audiences; the history of pop music is queer history. Blues originators like Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith, both openly bisexual, helped form the foundation of what would become R&B and rock‘n’roll. In the 1920s and early ’30s, Prohibition’s end gave way to the “Pansy Craze”: cabaret drag performances that brought gay nightlife to the masses and carried their aesthetics into mainstream musical theater. In the mid-’30s, at the edge of the Great Depression, moral backlash—sometimes disguised as economic conservatism but usually explicit in its bigotry—shut down many of these clubs and formally criminalized gay sex at a scale that had never before been seen. The closet door, which hadn’t even existed as we know it now, slammed shut.