Lesbian Herstory Archives AudioVisual Collections

Lesbian Nation

Lesbian Nation was a groundbreaking radio show produced and hosted by Martha Shelley (1943 - Present), that specifically focused and revolved around the LGBTQ community during the rise of gay and lesbian liberation movements in the 1970s. After college, Shelley joined the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB) (1955-1995), a lesbian civil and political rights orgaanization, eventually becoming president of the NY chapter. Shelley was one of the early members of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) which was established immediately after the Stonewall Riots and which advocated for for LGBT and minority rights. Additionally, Shelley wrote for several publications and was an avid advocate for civil rights and the pro-choice movement.

In Lesbian Nation, dozens of prominent women in the LGBT community are interviewed. Shelley featured interviewees from all walks of life who discussed important topics including: activism, feminism, politics, community, art, media, sports, and so on. These interviewees povided context and perspective to the aforementioned issues and engaged in critical discussion with Shelley about current affairs at the time.

Provided here is biographic information on a small collection of interviewees. For some interviewees, there is only a limited amount of information available at this time. You can learn more about the them under "Lesbian Nation Interviewees". We hope to expand this section as more information becomes available. Under "Audio Recordings", you can listen to the episodes in which the interviewees appear.

About the exhibition cover image: Lesbians dancing at the steps of the Museum of Natural History in New York is from 1973, and features Martha Shelley with a tape recorder on the far right. Photo by Bettye Lane.