UNT Special Collections 2021 Research Fellowship Awardee - Jecoa Ross

UNT Special Collections 2021 Research Fellowship Awardee

Project Title

Criminal Bodies, Criminal Minds: Constructing the Sodomitical Other in Texas, 1943-1973

Project Description

This study provides a history of the creation, enforcement, and legacy of the 1943 Texas sodomy statute. Situated on the axis of legal, political, and social history, it focuses on how legislators, law enforcement officials, and the general public struggled to identify, understand, and regulate changing perceptions of sexuality, gender, and race in Texas during the mid-twentieth century. Ultimately, this project offers new insight into how criminal sodomy in Texas came to be reimagined within a heteronormative gaze as “homosexual conduct,” and how the legacy of this process still affects the LGBTQ+ community today.

Biography

Jecoa Ross (he/him) is a doctoral candidate in the University of Texas at El Paso Borderlands History PhD Program, where he specializes in Borderlands and U.S. history, with a minor concentration in the history of Psychiatry and Empire. His research focuses on the history of the Texas sodomy and homosexual conduct statutes, and his work has earned him the UTEP College of Liberal Arts Outstanding Thesis Awards for his undergraduate and master’s theses. Jecoa is also a part-time history instructor at El Paso Community College, a former Mellon fellow with the EPCC-UTEP Humanities Collaborative, and a current full-time parent.