Old Lesbians Organizing for Change (OLOC) stands with #BlackLivesMatter and #SayHerName and all involved in the work for racial, economic, and social justice, including protesters all over the world calling for accountability in every country.

On This Page:

Get Two Romance Novels
A Message from OLOC About the Pandemic
Zoom Panel Discussion: Down the Lesbian Music Memory Lane, 9/17/20
Our Essential Third Place (with Home and Work) ~~ The Feminist/Lesbian Bookstore, 8/20/20
OLOC’s Second National Video Meeting a Zooming Success!
OLOC Rhode Island Zooms!
OLOC Mission Statement
OLOC Vision Statement
OLOC in Action
OLOC Works for Change

Get Two Audible Romance Novels and Support OLOC at the Same Time! Offer Good Until October 31!

Updates! Martha is currently writing the third and final book on Ruth and Ruthie! Sappho In Shining Armor is getting close to completion. We will let you know when it is out.

New! We can send to Audible subscribers free digital downloads of both completed books, limited to the first 50 requests, until October 31. Email Marti at judgebellinger@aol.com to tell her that you would like the audio versions, and her return email will contain the code you will need to access the books for free. The suggested donation for both books is $20. And finally, if you make a donation, please tell us on the check or in the purpose area of PayPal that the money is for the books. These books would make great holiday gifts for friends!

One of our newer members has decided to spend her retirement writing Lesbian romance novels for Old Lesbians who can still remember falling in love at a time when society found our relationships scandalous.
These two books are available to you for freeBUT if you enjoy the books, the author suggests you consider making a $10 donation to OLOC for each. Of course, you can give more if you want and are able to. No one should feel obligated to make this donation, but the author and OLOC would appreciate it. What an easy way to support OLOC, and you get books out of the deal!


Most Lesbian women in the days before Stonewall kept their relationships and partnerships a secret for fear of losing employment security, straight friends, and family members. Our relationships were often endearing, very passionate, and the source of our strength while we lived honorable lives in the outside world. As a 70-year-old Lesbian woman who first knew her sexual orientation at 23, Martha E. Bellinger can still remember that first love with clarity and all the unbelievable passion she never knew was possible. She also experienced the angst and worry about employers and family members finding out her true sexuality, not fully coming out until age 34.

Her first award-winning novel, entitled The Two Ruths, tells the story of two women, both named Ruth (Ruth and Ruthie) who manage to find one another in rural upstate New York in the 1950s and fall in love with each other in their first Lesbian relationship. Ruthie runs a dairy farm and Ruth keeps house. This is loosely based upon the life of the author’s second cousin, Ruthie, who did in fact run such a farm and have such a partner. No one ever questioned their relationship because at that time and place, single women could live together, and society even felt “it was nice that these two spinsters had someone with whom they could live.”

The second novel, She Who Is Without Sin, is the sequel which tells you what happened to these partners as they remained together throughout the 1960s and 1970s. The second novel has more suspense, humor, and passion than the first. After reading the first book, if you wish to keep following this Lesbian couple, email judgebellinger@aol.com. What a win-win-win all around!

Read the Review...

Review of The Two Ruths
By Julie Ford, 1952

The Two Ruths is Martha Emily Bellinger’s first novel, and it left this reader longing for more.

The setting of the love story between two women, both named Ruth, is evocative of Bellinger’s own childhood on a dairy farm in upstate New York. A combination of happenstance and destiny brings the two women together during a time, the 1950s and early 60s, when such love had to be kept secret from family and friends.

Despite their clandestine romance, both Ruths are active members of their small community and their church. As time goes on, they are surprised by the love and acceptance they are offered by their neighbors who have caught on to the truth of their relationship.

This reader was particularly interested in the theology expressed in conversations between these two longtime lovers. Bellinger writes these parts so well that it is not surprising to note from her bio that she was ordained in the United Methodist Church before she switched career tracks to enter the legal profession, retiring as a California Superior Court judge.

This book is such a pleasurable read that when I read the final page, I felt a familiar pang: delighted admiration of a well-written story mixed with the despairing knowledge that, now that I’ve read it, I can never again experience the joy of reading it for the first time.

Bellinger has generously offered a copy, shipped free of charge, to anyone who donates $10 to OLOC, if they can and feel so inclined. Take her up on this offer! This book is worth much more.

A Message from OLOC about the Pandemic:

The coronavirus is having a tremendous effect on our all lives. Many of us have been instructed to shelter in place and stay in our residences as much as possible in an attempt to slow and stop the spread of the virus. This can pose a major problem for Old Lesbians, who are often already isolated. However, there is no need to despair! OLOC is still active and thriving. The only thing that has changed at this point is that we are not meeting in person. But the chapters and the Steering Committee are finding other ways to carry on, primarily by Zooming. We are also having exciting National Zoom programs for all members, some of which are open to everyone. So far, these have included panel discussions with Lesbian musicians and feminist bookstore workers (see below), which have been wonderful experiences for the hundreds of Lesbians who attended.

There is something that almost all of us can find some way to do: reach out to others, stay connected to those who are important to you, ask for help if you need it, and look into the many opportunities to help others, whether that be with practical or financial assistance, a friendly check-in, or simply a smile. Spread some kindness around! Make THAT contagious.

And if you are interested in another way to connect with other members, you can check out our online forum at groups.io/g/NationalOLOC.

Please stay safe, everyone. You do not need to distance yourself socially from others, only physically! We are survivors and we will get through this.

A Panel Discussion via Zoom: Down the Lesbian Music Memory Lane
Thursday, September 17, 2020

Focus of Discussion:
A distinguished panel of Women’s Music legends discusses how they got started in Women’s Music and what they are doing today, and their experiences with touring, festivals, activism, Lesbian issues and more.

Alix Dobkin: Singer/Songwriter, Writer
Gaye Adegbalola: West African Travelling Poet, Storyteller, Musician
Jamie Anderson: Musician, Teacher, Author
June Millington: Founder, IMA and Rock Musician
Margie Adam: Singer, Songwriter, Pianist
María Cora: Bilingual Lead Vocalist for Azúcar Con Aché, Choral Director
Melanie DeMore: Singer/Songwriter, Composer, Conductor, Vocal Activist
Moderator: Retts Scauzillo: Stage Manager, Producer

Download notes from this Zoom Panel: Down The Lesbian Music Memory Lane

A Panel Discussion via Zoom: Our Essential Third Place (with Home and Work) ~~ The Feminist/Lesbian Bookstore
Thursday, August 20, 2020

Focus of discussion: How feminist/Lesbian bookstores supported and advanced Lesbian cultures and communities. From this herstorical journey, we recall and learn from the best of our past activisms and create energies for our futures as Old Lesbians.

Carol Seajay: Old Wives Tales, ICI-A Woman’s Place, & Feminist Bookstore News, San Francisco
Deb Morris: Lammas Bookstore, Washington, DC.
Faye Williams: Founder, Sisterspace & Books, Washington
DC Linda Tillery (Invited): ICI-A Woman’s Place, San Francisco
Pokey Anderson: Inklings Bookstore, Houston, TX
Moderator: Mev Miller: Amazon Bookstore, Minneapolis, MN & other ventures

Download notes from this Zoom discussion: The Feminist/Lesbian Bookstore

Bookstore Movement Resources


OLOC’s Second National Video Meeting a Zooming Success!

On June 27, OLOC held its second National Zoom meeting, with approximately 60 Old Lesbians in attendance. The topic was: What kind of activism work can you do while staying home or safe from COVID-19? All who were there are activists who lament that we can’t march now for Black Lives Matter because of our age and COVID-19. In this Zoom event, the facilitators randomly separated participants into various chat rooms. Each room was asked to have a notetaker to list the activities of its members. The compilation of those notes is here and we hope you will check it out! Many thanks to Mev Miller, 1955, for putting it together, and to the tech team (Mev, Deirdre Knowles, 1947, Ruth Debra, 1944, JR, 1943, and Retts Scauzillo, 1953) for leading another successful meeting!

It’s not hard to find people who need help. Just about all of us can do something to take action now to fight racism and ease the pain of the pandemic for others, two of the most pressing issues of the present time. Everyone can make a difference and have an impact, no matter how small you think your actions are!

Ruth says: “Thank you to all you OLOC Zoomers. Thank you for doing the survey and coming up with such great ideas for future meetings. We will Zoom again in August; date to be announced, so watch your email. So good to see so many Old Lesbian faces!”

Download Zoom Notes: Ideas for Safe Activism Work During the Pandemic

OLOC Rhode Island Zooms!

The Rhode Island chapter is meeting biweekly via Zoom. “It’s been a relief, blessing, and touchstone support for all of us. We enjoy it a lot and are grateful to have this way to stay in touch!” — Mev

OLOC Rhode Island Zooms

Top l-r: Dee Bird (1951), Sally Hay (1950), Nancy Howard (1953), Mev Miller (1955), Deb Valletta, (1952). Middle l-r: Elda Dawber (1944), Cathy Gorman (1946), Marj Moskol (1932), Joan Dermody (1946). Bottom: Thea Ernest (1954)

OLOC Mission Statement

To eliminate the oppression of ageism and to stand in solidarity against all oppressions.

OLOC Vision Statement

OLOC will be a cooperative community of Old Lesbian feminist activists from many backgrounds working for justice and the well-being of all Old Lesbians.

OLOC in Action

We are a national network of Old Lesbians in our 60th year or older working to confront ageism in our communities and our country. We use education and public discourse as our primary tools.

Our national organization is directed by a Steering Committee that works to form and support local groups who will work in their own communities.

We hold biennial National Gatherings allowing us to come together to share experiences and ideas and recharge our energies for the tasks at hand.

We believe that we have a great deal of wisdom, experience, and strength to share with our communities as well as among ourselves.

Everyone will have her older life made better by the work we do.

We are dedicated to preserving and enhancing the Lesbian voice as well as increasing Lesbian visibility in a world that stifles it and threatens to erase it.

OLOC Works for Change by Supporting:

  • comprehensive immigration reform
  • elimination of violence against women
  • enactment of universal single-payer healthcare for all
  • an end to corporate “personhood”
  • an end to any curtailment of voting rights
  • the Black Lives Matter movement
  • the Say Her Name! movement
  • the civil rights of all indigenous people
  • efforts to achieve net zero CO2 emissions
  • efforts to reduce climate crisis impacts that fall disproportionately on the poor and vulnerable