Wild West society didn't necessarily label people homosexual or heterosexual, but rather allowed each person to be who they need to be in any given moment. In an interview "Homos on the Range: How gay was the West? When women weren't present in large communities, say a mining camp full of men for example, some men would fill the role of women sexually and domestically, and normal gender roles were challenged. In effect, men in the Old West got it where they could. One thing is very clear about the Old West: What's surprising is the range of prostitution throughout the West.
Prostitution was also indicative of socioeconomic classes in Old West society. Most prostitutes were young 30 or younger , largely uneducated and, in many cases, illiterate. Some were immigrants, and pricing was based not only on looks but also nationality and ethnicity.
Like the anonymous, easily replaced miners and railroad workers of the American frontier, prostitutes filled a social and economic function necessitated by capitalism, but, as individuals, were largely irrelevant and forgotten.
In an era of rampant prostitution, you might wonder why people weren't popping out kids left and right. It's not like serious protection was used.
For prostitutes, pregnancy was a major hazard - not only could it kill your career, it might kill you; many women on the frontier died during childbirth. The easy stereotypes that McAndrews expected drug users, women without families existed, but were not as prevalent as he expected. One woman who McAndrews met is a math teacher in Minnesota during the school year. On her summer breaks, she works at the Nevada brothels because it is a turn-on for her.
The business is often a family affair. Some customers were OK with being photographed. The final brothel he had to get access to was the Moonlite Bunny Ranch. He had to convince owner Dennis Hof center , who owns three other brothels, that it was a good idea. McAndrews told Hof that the project was an artistic documentation of the community, not a generic travel guide to the brothels.
Hof was eventually convinced by his good friend, publisher and radio host, Judith Reagan, who thought McAndrews' project was important. This scheme in addition to defending the freedom of the press, offers readers a quick, fair and free method of dealing with complaints that they may have in relation to articles that appear on our pages.
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