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Herstories:  Audio/Visual Collections of the LHA

Pamela Oline

Born and raised in post- World War One England in 1925, she has always professed to being a straight ally to the lesbian movement. After moving to the United States when she was fourteen, she kept her political and social views, and was involved in several political movements in France around 1953, and later subsequently fired from an Air Force job due to her left-wing views on the McCarthy movement. 

When the first rumblings of political change began in the student movements in 1968, Pamela began to pay more attention to the issue of homosexuality, seeing it as a question of civil liberties. Recently making the career change from mathematician to therapist at age 45, she recognized the psychological aspects of overt oppression as well as internalized oppression within the gay rights movement. 

Her acquaintance with the Daughters of Bilitis came through an out lesbian friend, who knew that she was looking for “an arena to practice [therapy] in,” and suggested that Pam view the organization from the inside. After she attended her first DOB meeting in their 47th/48th street headquarters in New York City, she became more involved in a group of New York based psychotherapists who were also interested in the lesbian movement. 

Pamela was instrumental in founding the DOB’s well known “rap groups,” as well as bringing more feminist ideals and issues to the organization, before her association with the DOB dwindled beginning in 1971, when she joined the Feminist Therapy Collective and the Gay Academic Union (GAU), to which she began to devote most of her time.