Keeping the “L” Relevant: Archiving Our Lesbian Herstories
Sunday, March 21, 2021
In this panel presentation, Lesbians with experience talked about how they archive and share relevant herstories of Lesbian lives. Presenters included: Sharon Raphael, 1941; Deb Edel, 1944; Krü Maekdo; Bonnie Morris, 1961; and Alí Marrero-Calderón, 1948; with Facilitator, Mev Miller, 1955.
Download the Resources List for Keeping the “L” Relevant
NOTE: Due to privacy issues, ONLY the panelists are included and NOT the Q&A.
Women of the Harlem Renaissance
A Multimedia Presentation
Thursday, February 18, 2021
After World War I, Black people flocked to New York City from the American South and the Caribbean Islands. Many settled in Harlem, and from 1918 to the mid-1930s, they created a cultural, artistic, and intellectual revolution that influenced other artists around the world. At the time, it was called The New Negro Movement, and many brilliant women were a part of it. Who were they, and what did they do? In this presentation we’ll talk about the experiences and unique talents of a number of these women – many of them Lesbian or bisexual, all of them groundbreaking. Join us for a glimpse into this historic, dynamic era and into the lives of the amazing Black women who shaped it. Presented by Jorjet Harper.
Book Club Possibilities
Friday, February 5, 2021
These are recommended titles from the chat participants for the whole group and Breakout Group One. Many thanks to Christine Pattee, 1941, for compiling this list.
- Olivia on the Record, by Ginny Z. Berson, recently released by Aunt Lute Press, auntlute.com/olivia-on-the-record
- Cantoras, by Carolina De Robertis (novel set in Uruguay and totally about Lesbians). Great.
- Val McDermid is a Scottish Lesbian author with Lesbian characters. I love her Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series! Dark and gritty murder mysteries, though, so beware, LOL!
- A Light on Altered Land, by Becky Bohan. OLOC member. Novel about Lesbians.
- All of Marti Bellinger’s about Ruth.
- Anything by Elana Dykewoman
- Beyond the Pale, by Elana Dykewoman
- Wildfire: She/volution, by Sonia Johnson
- Never Anyone But You, by Rupert Thomson
- Poppy Jenkins, by Clare Ashton
- Pull of the Stars, by Emma Donahue
- Anything by Sarah Waters
- Paris Was a Woman: Portraits from the Left Bank, by Andrea Weiss
- Juliana, by Vanda. Set in New York in the 1940s and 1950s.
- Film: Vita and Virginia on YouTube.
- Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl
- Patience and Sarah, by Isabel Miller
- Paris Was a Woman, by Shari Bentock
- Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation: A History of Literary Paris in the Twenties and Thirties, by Noel Riley Fitch
- The Sixty-fourth Day, by Rowena Winik
- Anything by Jane Rule or Jeanette Winterson
- Lillian in Love, by Sue Katz
- A Raison in my Cleavage, by Sue Katz
- Alix Dobkin, My Red Blood, story of her red diaper baby life before she came out [mentioned by two participants]
- Djuna Barnes’s collection of her newspaper articles
- This Bridge Called My Back
- Tribe of Dina
- Fiction: Girl, Woman, Other, by Bernadine Evaristo
- Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
- “Literary Ladies Guide,” an email list with stories about famous women authors
- The Lions of Fifth Avenue, by Fiona Davis (Lesbian content. Heterodoxy)
- ebookwoman.com – Highly recommend.
“Where Do We March from Here?”
Thursday, January 21, 2021
By Marie Emee, 1962
The OLOC Zoom meeting [Where Do We March from Here? on January 21] started with Mandy Carter’s informative walk through history, as seen through the eyes of an African American Lesbian educator and survivor who forged a strong backbone as she navigated the child welfare system as an orphan. The 1964 Freedom Summer, the Poor People’s Campaign that went on despite the slaying of MLK in 1968, the building of Resurrection City on the National Mall in DC … all of these events came alive as seen through Carter’s eyes.
Black men won the vote in 1870, and here is a Black woman standing proud in her herstory, reminding us that she could not vote until the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. That’s real. History comes alive when you have a strong elder who takes the time to tell her story. Sister Carter, thank you for a walk in your shoes.
Mandy asked us: What is the seed we will plant in the future? What drives us? What is the thing deep within us that we will shelter, tend, and grow from seedling roots into leaves, flowers, and fruits? Where do we go from here? Our answers: social justice, ending racism and sexism, destroying the illusion of white supremacy, protecting our land, water, air, and animals…
Some of us tend to the preservation and protection of our Lesbian culture and our hard-won sex-based rights.
From this point in the Zoom meeting, questions came: Is this an emergency?, one sister asked. Another question: can Lesbians tell our stories without anger, to elicit empathy, while we are pinioned with threats and hateful slurs for protecting our culture and our spaces? Can we move forward with mutual respect, love, and compassion for others? And can that happen with folks who do not seem to respect our culture and our safe spaces? Where is the compassion for Lesbians? Where is the understanding? And what can we do to foster these?
Is there a way to show the world that the Lesbian community, especially the feminists among us, cannot be reduced to a slur? How do we define ourselves as Lesbians, and how can that definition protect our Lesbian culture and prevent the appropriation of the Lesbian moniker by people who do not fit that definition? How do we protect and nurture young Lesbians, especially young butch Lesbians?
How do we create a brand for ourselves, and is that needed? How can we foster understanding for the righteous rage of those who lament the attack on our community by people who have no understanding of us, and show no compassion for us? If we were understood, would there be compassion and respect, and if so, how do we build bridges to that understanding?
The Lesbian image has been hypersexualized and misappropriated in what our sister Sheila Jeffreys, 1948 [pictured], calls the “malestream media.” How do we counter this? Can we hate the acts of the perpetrators and still respect their humanity, even as they deny our very existence?
How do we foster unrelenting compassion for ourselves that is steel-strong, so that when we reach out in compassion to others, we do not lose compassion and respect for our Lesbian culture and for ourselves? How do we resist erasure into the gullet of Queerness? How do we preserve and protect the L? We are a culture, not just a sexual orientation. How do we project that culture out of the archives and into the world? The answers to these questions are, I suspect, as diverse as the sacred seeds we carry within us.
Winter Holidays Casual Chat
Sunday, December 20, 2020
Welcoming from Barb Ester and Beth York
Snowscapes by Beth York
Original composition performed by Beth York and Barb Ester.
“Where Do We Go From Here?”
Friday, November 6, 2020
The 4th National OLOC Zoom program on November 6 was a post-election get-together for members to gather to share our feelings and to consider the future impact of this election for us Old Lesbians. More than 80 Old Lesbians attended, making this another highly successful pandemic program.
Comedian Karen Williams, 1952, welcomed everyone and got things warmed up. The bulk of the program then consisted of small-group discussions (in Zoom “breakout rooms”), facilitated by prompts such as: Where are we now? How are we feeling? How are we coping? Where do we go from here? What repair work needs to happen? What is your passion?
Participants were asked to make comments or add resources to the chat area. They responded with:
Crones Don’t Whine: Concentrated Wisdom for Juicy Women, by Jean Shinoda Bolen (Mentioned by Karen Williams)
Karen Williams’ website: hahainstitute.com/karen-williams
Lesbian Political Action Committee (LPAC): www.teamlpac.com (Mentioned by Sue Reamer, 1942)
Victory Fund: victoryfund.org (Offered by Ruth Debra, 1944)
A Citizen’s Guide to Fake News: www.cits.ucsb.edu/fake-news (Offered by Butterfli, 1960)
Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson, who won a Pulitzer for the excellent The Warmth of Other Suns (Offered by Alix Dobkin, 1940, and several others)
Calling all you white Old Lesbians who are committed to your anti-white supremacy work! Join Elizabeth and other Old Lesbians from our chapter [New Mexico] and the OLOC Steering Committee on Sunday afternoons from 1:00–2:30 P.M. MT at www.NanetteDMassey.com for discussions/learning sessions on Robin DiAngelo’s book, White Fragility. Nanette, a Black freelance writer and anti-racism trainer (before COVID-19 forced trainings to stop) takes us beyond the white echo chamber. If you have the courage to be quiet and learn—not justify past or current behaviors—please join in weekly, as often as you can. This is an Eventbrite event and you have the opportunity to support Nanette through a freewill offering. Be respectful; read White Fragility in advance of attending, if at all possible. You do not have to like this book, agree with stuff in it, etc., but it is important to have given the ideas in it some consideration in order to get the most out of Nanette’s guidance and wisdom. Nanette says that when white women want to learn about racism, they join a book club/read a book!! Please join in her conversation and don’t stay in white bubbles. (Offered by Elizabeth, 1945, uninvited dweller on Puebloan land)
Stamped from the Beginning, by Ibram X. Kendi, was a great history lesson (Offered by Patty O’Donnell, 1956)
Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do, by Jennifer L. Eberhardt, PhD. (2019) (Offered by Christine Pattee, 1941)
Sue Reamer, 1942, followed with a short report on Lesbian and other women candidates down-ballot, and the results of their elections. Unfortunately, Mandy Carter, 1948, co-founder of the National Black Justice Coalition, who was scheduled to give the wrap-up, experienced internet technical difficulties, so there was nothing to share from her recording. Mandy is 72 years old and living in Durham, North Carolina. However, she did offer these resources in the chat:
Thank you to everyone who attended and those who worked to put this program together!
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
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
OLOC’s Second National Video Meeting a Zooming Success!
Saturday, June 27, 2020
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!”