Issue 5

The Way We Were

To celebrate LGBT Pride Month 2012, we’re telling unique, compelling stories about lesbian, bisexual, queer and trans life in the 20th century or earlier. They don’t teach this stuff in school, so we’re gonna do it right here instead.

10 Great Places to Meet Lesbians If You Have a Time Machine

If you’re really sick of the lesbian scene where you live, why not build a time machine and go back to when everyone hated us? Here are some excellent places to meet ladies from history.

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Portraits of Lesbian Writers, 1987-1989

Robert Giard took 500 photographs of queer writers in the 80’s and 90’s. They’re pretty f*cking awesome.

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Herstory Spotlight: Vita Sackville-West Wrote Words, Wooed Women, Wanted Woolf

On the lady who wrote this to Virginia Woolf – “You have no idea how stand-offish I can be with people I don’t love. I have brought it to a fine art. But you have broken down my defences. And I don’t really resent it.”

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The Unaccountable Life of Gender-Bending Rebel Charlie Brown

“This little book… is to my mind the progenitor of all funny queer blogs written in the first-person. Yes, this is the story of the first queer blogger.”

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Before “The L Word,” There Was Lesbian Pulp Fiction

Unfortunate representation of queer communities may piss us off but it doesn’t mean it won’t help in some wacked out way. Just look at lesbian pulp fiction novels.

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Read a F*cking Book: “Odd Girls & Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in 20th-Century America”

If I had the power to declare this the official book of Herstory Month, I would. But I don’t have that power. Only you have that power. And you should read this book!

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20 Lesbian Slang Terms You’ve Never Heard Before

You’ll never hold a bowling ball the same way again.

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Grrrls! Grrrls! Grrrls!: What I Learned From Riot

Riot showed us what revolution could look like. We had a new concept of what power could be. We could find it within ourselves and in each other — and we didn’t have to ask.

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In 1973, Pamela Learned That Posing in Drag With A Topless Woman Is Forever

“During Gay Pride Week, Pamela’s father came to the Village to take her out to dinner… and that’s when Pamela saw it: plastered literally all over the place, on every wall and phone booth, was her own face staring back at her.”

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Trials and Titillation in Toronto: A Virtual Tour of the Canadian Lesbian & Gay Archives

“Happily, in the rainbow-tinted future we are surely headed for, where queer history is included in high school curriculum as a matter of routine, textbook editors will have somewhere to turn for their chapter content: The Canadian Lesbian & Gay Archives.”

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Ann Bannon, Queen of Lesbian Pulp Fiction: The Autostraddle Interview

“And so while I would have loved to have done what Laura did, to go to New York and try to find myself, I did the more conventional thing, and I think I was not alone in that.”

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15 Ways To Spot A Lesbian According To Some Really Old Medical Journals

“Has a firmness to her walk, a long step, and a rather heavy timbre to her voice.”

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The Very Lesbian Life of Miss Anne Lister

“I give you a selection of the extremely gay life of Miss Anne Lister, a contemporary of Jane Austen and a precursor to Shane McCutcheon.”

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The Lesbian Herstory Archives: A Constant Affirmation That You Exist

“I wish that people thought of it as a place to come on a Saturday afternoon, because it is important and it’s special. It’s not just about the things. It’s about having this home.”

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When After School Specials Made Gay People Seem Not-So-Special

Curated video from 80’s and 90’s afterschool specials in which being gay was a lot like being a tornado or a flesh-eating virus.

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I Saw The Sign: LGBT Symbols Then And Now

Roses are red, violets are gay, if you want a queer symbol, we’ve got an array.

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The Ladies Of Llangollen: Runaway Romantics In 18th Century Ireland

The story of two women who escaped their homes in the middle of the night, lived in a castle and loved each other for over 50 years.

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15 Awesomely Named Yet Totally Defunct Lesbian Bars Of America

Whatever happened to the way we used to be, Meow Mix and Mother’s Brew, Push and Wetherbee’s?

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6 Special Ideas About What Lesbian Sex Is, 1900-1953

“From midday until 2 pm, during the hours of greatest heat, when all are in this condition and the mistress falls asleep on the sofa… all the girls, ´╗┐without one exception, ´╗┐masturbate themselves.”

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Queering The Library: Collecting Downtown, Riot Grrrl, Feminism & You

Vanessa chats with Marvin J. Taylor about Kathleen Hanna, Kathy Acker, lesbian comics, secret lesbians of early Hollywood and other fascinating secrets uncovered at Fales.

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Six Ways that 1950s Butches and Femmes F*cked with Society, Were Badass

“Butches & Femmes paved the way for tons of fantastic lesbians, radical queers, revolutionary feminists, and really awful (and awesome) hairstyles that came after them.”

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Listling Without Commentary: Things Women Said About Lesbianism In The 1976 Hite Report on Female Sexuality

“Sex with a woman for me has involved pressing mound of Venus against mound of Venus on each other’s leg.”

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Read A F*cking Book: “Stranger On Lesbos” Reminds Us How Far We’ve Come and What Hasn’t Changed

“I am glad to be here with you in 2012. But I am glad someone was there in 1950.”

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Jewelle Gomez, Lesbian Trailblazer: The Autostraddle Interview

“There was a great heyday in the 80’s in which I felt like you could publish anything, you could say anything – any of the initials, L, G, B, or T.”

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Our Legacy: Six Lesbian Magazines From The Then Before Now

“No woman ever made a dime for her work, and some … worked themselves into a state of mental and physical decline on behalf of the magazine.”

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Epic Gallery: 150 Years Of Lesbians And Other Lady-Loving-Ladies

Photographs of lesbian, bisexual and otherwise-identified women, 1850-1999. Seriously this is really cool.

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