Lesbian Nation Interviewees
There were many contributors to the Lesbian Nation broadcast over the years. Some contributors were recurring and others appeared as one-time guests. All were members of the lesbian and LGBT community. In this section, you will find brief biographical information about the interviewees who appear in the Lesbian Nation tapes that have been digitized thus far. The provided information is meant to give you only a small glimpse into expansive and varied lives that these women have led. Much of the information here waas gleaned from the Herstory Archives' own materials. We encourage you to explore the work, activism, and lives of these women and listen to their stories.
Appears in: LHA Audio 001
A lesbian historian, writer, and researcher who published dozens of articles in lesbian journals and publications throughout the 70s and 80s, her most well-known publication being “Lesbian Biography, Biography of Lesbians” (1979) published in Lesbian History.
Dr. Esther Newton (1940 - Present )
Appears in: LHA Audio 002
An American cultural anthropologist most known for her groundbreaking work on ethnography of gay and lesbian communities in the US, particualry around New York City. Her second book, Cherry Grove, Fire Island: Sixty years in America’s first gay and lesbian town (1993), derived from oral histories and ethnography, documents the history of the Cherry Grove beach resort on Fire Island, New York which is one of the oldest gay and lesbian communities in America. Newton is currently the Professor Emerita of Anthropology and Kempner Distinguished Research Professor at Purchase College, State University of New York and a lecturer at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She is in a long-term partnership with lesbian- feminist performance artist Holly Hughes.
Marge Piercy (1936 - Present)
Appears in: LHA Audio 004
A Jewish-American activist, novelist, and poet, well-known for her feminist poetry which explores a wide variety of issues and subject matter including lesbian rights and relationships. She has written 17 volumes of poetry and 15 novels. Piercy identifies as bisexual herself and much of her poetry is a narrative exploration of her own sexuality and what it means to navigate the world when you identity between categories. Piercy has been a member of the non-profit organization Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press (WIFP), which works on increasing communication between women in the public and women-based media, since 1977.
Appears in: LHA Audio 4
A lesbian musician, composer, writer, teacher, and activist who is perhaps most known for her early 70s feature on A Few Loving Women (1973) and her album Jeritree’s House of Many Colours (1978), produced by Hilferley’s own Seawave Recordings label. The latter album is a collection of avante-garde folk music that experiments with ritualistic rhythms and chants. Marge Piercy dedicated several poems to Hilderley.
Jane Alpert (1947 - Present)
Appears in: LHA Audio 006
Alpert is a Jewish-American, former far left radical/political activist (involved with the Weather Underground Organization) now radical feminist, activist, and writer, who conspired in and served time in prison for the bombings of eight government buildings in the late 60s. Her activism and writing is primarily concerned with feminism and advocacy for women’s rights, including advocacy for LGBT rights.
Judy Wenning (1944 - Present)
Appears in: LHA Audio 007
Wenning, an openly lesbian candidate, was elected and served as president of the NY chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) from 1973 - 1974. During her tenure, she traveled throughout the country to visit various communities and professional groups, promoting the importance of Title IX. Wenning also developed and chaired the women and sports committee for national NOW. She was also a former teacher and a feminist therapist at New York City Collge and in private practice.
Appears in: LHA Audio 007
Lesbian track & field participant. In 1994, Rawcliffe won gold at the Gay Games IV & Cultural Festival.
Barbara Love (1937 - Present)
Appears in: LHA Audio 008
Love is an accomplished American lesbian author, editor and activist. Some of her notable publications include Sappho Was A Right-On Woman: A Liberated View of Lesbianism (1971) which Love co-authored with her partner Sidney Abbott and Feminists Who Changed America 1963 - 1975 (2006) which is a collection of 2,200 biographies on second-wave feminists which were compiled with assistance from Veteran Feminists of America (VFA). Both works were contributions Love made on behalf of gay liberation, a movement she was heavily involved with, helping found lesbian consciousnes-raising groups. In many ways, Love wanted to de-stigmatize lesbianism in society and much of her activism and advocacy was done on behalf of this goal. She was part of the presentation to the American Psychiatric Association (APA) that eventually led to the removal of homosexualty from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). She continues to serve on the VFA board and also continues to swim competitively, having earned several gold medals at the Gay Games (Amsterdam, 1998).
Sidney Abbott (1937 - 2015)
Appears in: LHA Audio 008
Abbott was a an American lesbian and feminist author and activist. Along with many other members of the gay Liberation Front (GLF) and the National Organization for Women (NOW), Abbott was a former member of the lesbian radical feminist group Lavender Menace which protested the exclusion of lesbian from the feminist movement. Abbott was one of the most vocal members of NOW, always advocating for the inclusion of lesbian issues alongside feminist issues. She is also well-known for co-authoring the groundbreaking Sappho Was A Right-On Woman: A Liberated View of Lesbianism (1971) with her partner, Barbara Love. Her advocacy for lesbian and feminst issues has included the creation of the Women’s Rights Are Human Rights nonprofit in 2007 and the 2008 establishment of the In Our Shoes newsletter which emphasized issues of class, poverty, and politics. Abbott tragically passed away in a house fire in Southold, New York on April 15, 2015.
Audre Lorde (1934 - 1992)
Appears in: LHA Audio 009
Lorde was an American writer, feminist, womanist, librarian, artist, and civil rights activist. Lorde is perhaps most well-known for her poetry and writing which confronts injustices of racism, classism, sexism, and homophobia. She is a self-described, “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet.” She has been the recipient of several accolades, including the Walt Whitman Citation of Merit and being the New York State Poet Laureate (‘91 - ‘93). Lorde was also a Professor at John Jay College and Hunter College. Her life was dedicated to advocacy and activism for women, LGBT, the Black community, the mentally ill, and the many marginalized communities that are often excluded from overarching narratives. Lorde sought to provide voices for these groups through her work and endeavored to restore their humanity. More information about her work and the work being continued in her name can be found at the Audre Lorde Project.