What was the gay lifestyle like in past times (say, pre 1970s)? How was being gay perceived?
I am looking for resources or first-hand accounts of the day-to-day lives of those either closeted or openly gay before the 1970s. I was inspired after seeing Adorable Vintage Photos of Gay Couples
; I realized how little I know about what being gay was like in older times.
Specific questions I have: where would gay people meet? Were there 'signs'? Were there similar stereotypes to identify gay people (exaggeratedly fashionable clothing, lisping, theatergoing) or were there stereotypes that did not make it to modern times?
Was homosexuality commonly explained away to children? What was a standard excuse (for example, Aunt Hilda lives with her best friend to save money, Uncle Frank and James are just kidding around when they hug).
Were most adults 'in' on it or did many genuinely not recognize the nature of gay relationships? Was it different between gay men and lesbian women?
These are just a few things I wonder about but any additional stories or memories are gladly welcome. Memoirs, autobiographies, biographies, books, these recommendations would also be great to have. I'm looking for anything that details the lifestyle and perception of homosexuality in the past.