In the s, sexologist Alfred Kinsey, who was on the verge of publishing his first major report on male sexuality in the US, enlisted a photographer named Thomas Painter to investigate gay subcultures. He was particularly drawn to masculine white men who generally viewed themselves as heterosexual; Painter offered to take their photos, a trick he used as a lead-in to sex. Although Painter was sometimes physically attacked, many men agreed to sleep with him — sometimes for money, sometimes not. But by the mids, as categories of heterosexuality and homosexuality hardened in the American consciousness, Painter noticed a change. Where once these straight-identified hustlers could move freely in and out of queer spaces, they were now defined by their association with queer men.
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