History of New York Lesbian Style Oral History Project
The History of New York Lesbian Style oral history collection is an oral history project created by Alaina Zulli in 2007. Zulli was in graduate school for fashion history at NYU at the time and was working with the oral history collection as a student employee at Tamiment Library, which motivated her to document the changes in the lesbian experience in New York as expressed in fashion through the personal accounts of women who identify as a lesbian and who live in New York City.
This collection includes four audio recordings of interviews conducted by Alaina Zulli in 2007, which have been digitized from CD-R by students at Pratt Institute’s Library and Information Science Program. The original materials are held in off-site storage by the Lesbian Herstory Archives.
Transcriptions of the interviews are available, thanks to Amelia Leventhal, Marissa Moxley, and Sophia Santaniello .
Interview with Fumio Ichikawa
First Fumio reflects on her experiences across her childhood and adolescence; she grew up in a small town in Kanagawa outside of Tokyo, and then her family moved to New York when she was 17 years old. She describes her difficulties adjusting to America after her family moved, and she reflects on her experiences of xenophobia and colonialism, particularly in the context of the university program that she spent in London. Then, she reflects on how she came to understand her lesbian identity, the tensions between Japanese cultural norms and gendered expectations and her identity as a lesbian, and how her identity is reflected in her style.
Interview with Mariya Gorkhover
Mariya discuss her family experience, her difficulties in coming out to her parents, how her style has evolved with her sexuality, how she believes she is perceived, and how she would like to be perceived (based upon her looks).
Interview with Anonymous Interviewee
The interviewee recounts her experiences growing up lesbian and intersex in Brooklyn and Manhattan. She discusses the lesbian community, the ballroom scene, workplace and school bullying, and her experiences working at an urban clothing company.
The interviewee's name has been withheld at her request.
Interview with Thomas Vance
Alaina Zulli interviews Courtney Vance, who now goes by Thomas. Vance discusses growing up, coming out, and current stylistic choices and experiences.