Fill In Your Butch History With This Coloring Book

“Beautiful, handsome, and ever charming, these 1920s-1940s Butches await your celebration, your admiration, and, of course, your color schemes,” writes Sasha T. Goldberg for the Butch Lesbians of the 20s, 30s, and 40s Coloring Book by Avery Cassell and Jon Macy.

The coloring book features Bessie Coleman, Thelma Wood, Frieda Belinfante, Jackie Bross, Cherifa, Willa Cather, Gladys Bentley, Gertrude Stein, Gwen Farrar, Joe Carstairs, Louisa D’Andelot Carpenter, Moms Mabley, Olga Tsuberbiller, Ruth Ellis, Yoshiko Kawashima and other dapper butch figures, drawn by queer artists including Paige Braddock, Robyn Adams, Tara Madison Avery, Katie Gilmartin, Maia Kobabe, Ajuan Mance, and others, as well as biographies by Avery Cassell and a forward by Goldberg. Why learn about herstory when you can learn about herstory by way of babes?

Below: your very own printable coloring book preview and mini history lesson. Ten points to anyone who uploads colored-in pages in the comments.

Cherifa by Jon Macy

Cherifa, aka Amina Bakalia (1928 to the late 1990s), was the first woman grain seller in Tangier, Morocco; an out butch lesbian; and a notorious womanizer. Her twenty-year affair with American novelist Jane Bowles is captured in A Little Original Sin: The Life and Work of Jane Bowles by Millicent Dillon.

Gladys Bentley by Maia Kobabe

Gladys Bentley, aka Bobbie Bentley (1907–1960), was a renowned blues singer during the 1920s and 30s and a pianist and entertainer during the Harlem Renaissance. In 1931, she scandalously married her white girlfriend in a civil ceremony in New Jersey, which later led to an investigation by the U.S. House Committee on Un-American Activities and McCarthy-era pressure to (unconvincingly) renounce her lesbianism.

Yoshiko Kawashima by Jon Macy

Yoshiko Kawashima, aka the “Joan of Arc of the Manchus” (1907–1948), was a Chinese princess who cut her hair off and began to wear men’s clothing at age 18. She was a spy for the Japanese Kwantung Army, and after the war was captured and executed by the Republic of China. In life, she was bisexual. In the Chinese language, her name is synonymous with “female spy.”

Cigars in Berlin by Jon Macy

These anonymous butches are smoking cigars at the women-only Damenclub Violetta in 1920s Berlin, what Cassell calls “the lesbian capital of the universe” until Nazis took over.

Gertrude Stein by Ajuan Mance

Gertrude Stein (1874–1946) was a novelist, poet, playwright, art collector and patron, and overall force in the Parisian avante-garde. She was married to Alice B. Toklas for 36 years, and together they ran a salon, escaped WWII, and wrote a ton of love letters.

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Ryan Yates

Ryan Yates was the NSFW Editor (2013–2018) and Literary Editor for, with bylines in Nylon, Refinery29, The Toast, Bitch, The Daily Beast, Jezebel, and elsewhere. They live in Los Angeles and also on twitter and instagram.

Ryan has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. Ajuan Mance!!! She was my favorite Lit professor at Mills!!! Definitely need to get this coloring book.

  2. What a beautiful thing! I want to print them out and hang them casually all over my work office.

  3. Okay, let’s see if I can make this work…

    I colored this while watching Rachel Maddow. How many Gay Points does this get me? And can I exchange them for lady smooches somehow? I need to know the currency exchange rate.

    • I tried to make the carpet have these garish pink flowers but I was so bad at coloring around them with the blue that I gave up. You can kind of tell I lost steam on the carpet and the back wall, but I had fun anyway. Plus, I love a good powder blue tux.

    • WOW THIS IS GORGE! if you at all happen to see this, maybe — hit me up at sarah [at] autostraddle [dot] com with your IG handle — it’d be cool to maybe put this on our instagram for pride! <3

  4. It feels so rare to see masculine of center ladies get featured in anything, so I’m glad this exists! It’s hard to see myself in femme folks, so butch stuff is appreciated. :) Thank you for sharing this content with us!

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