Here is my 2012 celebration of Gay Pride Day, the Lesbian Pride March, the Trans Rights March, The Sex Workers Rally here in Melbourne, the march of those considered too different for a growing right wing world, for all the LGBTQ people and for feminists of all kinds who see the strength of our coalitions: images of the Lesbian Herstory Archives banners marching down the streets of New York through the years. I see my old friends, like Mabel Hampton and Sonny Wainright, both who now live in our memories, in these images, and I see a younger me, marching bare breasted down Fifth Avenue after Mayor Guiliano or was it Koch threatened to arrest any woman who took off her shirt. Several in our contingent challenged his edict. Only the bodies of our comrades pressing so close made us feel safe enough to do this, kept the police at bay. This is always what we can do for our endangered bodies.
The March through Brookyn,The Opening of the New Building, 1992, with Paula Grant and Judith Schwartz and Polly Thistlewait and a cast of hundreds, photo by Saskia Scheffer
Celebrating 38 years of Creating a Home for Lesbian Culture with Deb and Max, 2000s, Photograph by Saskia Scheffer, LHA
I am in the process, as I have said, of going through my papers, going through the documents of my time and I found my copy of the first newsletter the archives ever did, dated June 1975. It sits on my desk now, its so simple typed pages marked by the passage of time but I remember the act of imagination that created it. In honor of all who imagine what has not existed before in the hopes of expanding our concepts of human dignity, here it is, as simple as we first did it, without pictures on flat white paper, only words and ideas and challenges to the accepted limits of what was considered history.
Lesbian Herstory Archives
P.O.Box 1258* New York, New York 10001 [no longer our address]
We are a group of women who met initally at the first conference of the Gay Academic Union in the Fall of 1973. Some of us formed a C-R group, and, as we grew closer to each other, we began to focus on our need to collect and preserve our own voices, the voices of our Lesbian community. As our contribution to our community, we decided to undertake the collecting, preserving and making available to our sisters all the prints of our existence. We undertook the Archives, not as a short-term project, but as a commitment to rediscovering our past, controlling our present, and speaking to our future [you who are reading this now]. We seek to preserve for the future all the expressions of our identity--written, spoken, drawn, filmed, photographed, recorded.
We are just in the beginning stages. A lot of material is coming in and we are in the process of sorting and cataloguing it. This is our first newsletter. We hope that the Archives will serve as a center for all women who want to get a sense of their Lesbian history, through tangible expressions of the lives we have lived. Our collection is small but growing [now housed in a three storey building in Brooklyn, thank you all] and we will do our best to insure that it is never misused. For us, there is excitment and joy in sharing the records of our lives and our Archives will be as living as the material we can collect and you can send us [still the case]. We want to encompass the happenings of the whole Lesbian community, and for this we need your help.
Future newsletters will contain listings of our holdings as the cataloging and sorting and collecting progrsses, and suggested topics for research as we beomce aware of them.
Enclosed you will find a more formal statement of our structure and purposes.
FOR THE ARCHIVES: Sahli Cavallaro Deborah Edel Joan Nestle Pamela Oline Julia Stanley
SAHLI CAVALLARO is a founding member of the Women's Caucus in the Gay Academic Union, was briefly affliated with Identity House as a peer counselor, and is a graduate student in psychology and a poet. She is currently interested in exploring ways of creating an intellectual and agrarian Amazon lifestyle on the periphery of "the system" with other Lesbians.
DEBORAH EDEL us a Lesbian/Feminist working toward a community of women. More traditionally, she functions as an Educational Psychologist working with children who have a learnig problem.
JOAN NESTLE is a lecturer in English, SEEK Program, Queens College, CUNY. A Lesbian activist who is old enough to remember the darkness of weekend bars and young wnough to joyously believe in the liberation of our future, she is a cherisher and wishful creator of Lesbian literature.
PAMELA OLINE has been involved in the Lesbian-Feminist movement in New York since 1970. She is a member of the Feminist Therapy Referral Collective and Identity House, a counseling service for Gay People. (One of the important functions of Identity House is to provide peer counseling for the Lesbian community.)
JULIA STANELY is an ex-member of academia, although she is still a sometimes controversial linguist collecting and analyzing evidence of sexism in English. An independent scholar, she is now living in the country (Tennessee), trying to work out a Lesbian lifestyle at the periphery of patriarchal society.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
THE LESBIAN HERSTORY ARCHIVES exists to gather and preserve records of Lesbian lives and activities so that future generations of Lesbians will have ready access to material relevant to their lives. The process of gathering this material will also serve to uncover and collect our herstory denied to us previously by patriarchal historians in the interests denied to us in the interests of the culture which they serve. The existence of these Archives will enable us to analyze and reevaluate the Lesbian experince.
WE WILL COLLECT AND PRESERVE ANY materials that are revelant to the lives and experiences of Lesbians: books, magazines, journals, newsclippings (from establishment, Feminist, or Lesbian media), bibliographies, photos, herstorical information, tapes, films, diaries, oral herstories, poetry and prose, biographies, autobiographies, notices of events, posters, graphics, and other memorabilia and obscure references to our lives.
THE ARCHIVES WILL BE RUN as a Lesbian collective and decisons will be made by consensus. The collective will be responsible for the staffing of the Archives and hiring as funds permit. Decisions will be made by those women who have been active participants in the on-going functioning of the Archives.
WE WILL BE GUIDED BY THE following principles:
Under no circumstances will materials be permitted to leave the premises where the Archives are housed. [Our imaginations could only go so far]
The permission of the Archives collective will be required for publication and/or distribution of any materials held by the Archives.
Confidentiality--Since we are trying to collect all materials relevant to the lives and experiences of Lesbians, we feel that it is important to potential contributors that we guarantee whatever degree of confidentiality their material may require.
In order to facilitate contact between women engaged in research, each person who wishes to use the Archives will be asked to present a brief statement outlining their reasons for wanting the use of Archives material.
IF YOU HAVE LESBIAN MATERIALS that you would like to donate, please send them to [go to the current Lesbian Herstory Archives website]. If you have confidential material, please write to us, describing the kind of agreement you would require prior to donating your material.
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SERIAL MEDIA WITH LESBIAN CONTENT
The compilers of the following list have tried to be comprehensive and accurate, but we may have missed a Lesbian journal or newsletter. For example, publications such as CRIES FROM CASSANDRA, ECHO OF SAPPHO, ONE TO ONE, PORTCULLIS AND TRES FEMMES were deleted from an earlier list because the post office returned our letters to them as 'unforwardable." Since we compiled this list for the purposes of Archives subscriptions, we would appreciate hearing from you if you know of new pulbications, changes of address or serials that have definitely stopped publishing. Any definite information will help us provide complete and accurate records of Lesbian media for the future.
Where possible, we have included the price of journals in the hopes that readers will subscribe to those journals and newsletters they can afford. We believe it is necessary to support Lesbian publications in order to promote and maintain a Lesbian information network. While not all of the publications listed here are strictly Lesbian, we have included them because they often contain news, poetry and/or articles of interest to Lesbians. [Here I have decided to list only the names and cities of the publications, not the defunct addresses, to give a sense of what had found.]
Ain't I A Woman (Iowa City, Iowa), Albatross (East Orange, NJ), ALFA Newsletter (Atlanta, GA), Amazon Quarterly (West Somerville, MA), Aphra (NY, NY), Big Mama Rag (Denver, CO), Circle (Wellington, New Zealand), Coming Out (Albion, CA), Cowrie (NY,NY), Desperate Living, (Baltimore, MD), Dykes and Gorgons, Berkeley, CA), Dykes Unite (Genesco, NY), Focus (Boston, MA), Gay Community News (Boston, MA), Gay Liberation Press (Sydney, Australia), Gay Liberator (Detroit, MI), Journal of Homosexuality (NY,NY), Lavendar Wing (Albuquerque, NM), Lavendar Woman (Chicago, ILL), Lazette (Fanwood, NJ), Lesbian Connection (East Lansing, MI), LFC Newsletter of the Lesbian Feminist Center ( Chicago, ILL), Lesbian Tide (Los Angeles, CA), Lesbian Visions c/o The Lesbian Collective (Stanford, CA), Lesbian Voices (Cambell,CA), Long Time Coming (Montreal, Canada), Majority Report (NY,NY), Mother Jones Gazette (Knoxville, TN), NYRF Newsletter, NY,NY), New Women's Times (Rochester, NY), The Other Woman (Toronto, Canada), Pointblank Times (Houston, TX), Quest: A Feminist Quarterly (Washington, DC), Secret Storm (Chicago,ILL), Sisters (San Francisco, CA), So's Your Old Lady (Minneapolis,MINN), The Second Wave (Boston, MA), Uva Ursi (Robbinston, MA), Wicce (Philadelphia, PA), Womanspirit (Wolf Creek, OR), Women in Sunlight (Rochester, NY). [I can't help but to comment on the found poetry in these dreams]
I will stop here now and continue the contents of our first newsletter, 1975, on the next blog which will become the previous one in this new kind of space and time. Happy Pride Day!