Browse Items (6 total)
Side A: Dorothy discusses her personal life and how she came to discover that she was a lesbian. She talks about her marriage and separation. She discusses her relationships with women, all of which were long-term. Dorothy talks about her job in engineering as a tool designer and the fact that she performed a man's work for a man's salary. She discusses lesbian social life during the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s and names several popular bars including Eddy's Tavern, Ralph Martin. She talks about her developing alcoholism and the prominence of this disease among lesbians in general, perhaps as a result of their uncertainty about life. Dorothy also talks about butch and femme roles in lesbianism, stating that she doesn't identify herself with either role despite the fact that the butches identified her as one of them.
Side B: Dorothy continues the discussion of roles in lesbianism and the division between the two groups in bars. She says that her "crowd" did not distinguish between these two groups and she ultimately stopped going to bars, partly as a result of the need for role division. She discusses in some depth her problem with alcohol and talks about her membership in Alcoholics Anonymous. She talks about how she decided that she was a lesbian and gives further details about her first relationship. She also speculates on whether or not other people knew she was a lesbian, including her mother and acquaintances such as her landlord. She says that she has never had any problems with people discriminating against her. Dorothy also continues to talk about the social dynamics of bars in Buffalo.
Dorothy discusses her lifelong identity as a lesbian and her uncharacteristic history in adopting both the butch and femme roles in prior relationships. She talks about being the child of a single mother (her father died when she was two years old) and also describes her hobbies. She says she has always been very mechanically inclined and has also always been an avid reader. She suspects that being an avid reader influenced her ability to understand and be accepting of herself. She also discusses her education and career and her treatment as a lesbian on the job. She was the first female member of the American Society of Tool Designers and later became a technical librarian and engineering researcher. She also speaks about her friendships and non-sexual relationships with both gay and straight women. She notes the differences between those relationships and how her mannerisms and level of self-consciousness also differ in those interactions.
Talks about community tattoos, race, being butch, the challanges of identity and expectations. Touches on past sexual abuse by her father, gender roles, identity, learning about gay life and her discovery process, friendship, clothing and identity, her marriage to a gay man, her suicide attempt.
She thinks people have the wrong opinion of lesbians, she says she feels alone in the bars, role playing was important that someone should be the more aggressive person in a relationship, talks about how she needs a butch in a relationship, thought of herself as a femme although she didn't dress feminine, describes a "dyke person", bar atmosphere and how she went to a bar every night to hit on the bartender, how much she enjoyed the bar scenes, prostitution, story about how she was abducted and raped by 3 men, about how she was in an abusive relationship, spending time in a correctional facility, sexual relationships while in jail
Lou and Jane discuss what life is like as an interracial lesbian couple. They discuss how white "studs" feel threatened by black "studs", feeling they will steal their women. Alcoholism is briefly discussed. They also discuss having to tell lies to their family to prevent them from knowing about their sexuality.
On Side B- Jane begins with her experience as Fem lesbian, and her difficulty with what that means to her. She talks about her difficulty with coming "out", and then is interrupted by one of their children.
Lou discusses her relationship with her Fem partner (Jane), as someone who self-identifies as a Butch. She discusses her choices in life, and her commitment to her relationship, her partner, and her family. She also talks about her disillusionment with the future, and her lack of hope for change. Lou references Jane's feelings, and her hope for Jane to recognize what it means to be a Fem.
Discusses her child, a son. He was the product of her one-day marriage. She kept him for about 8 months and then her brother and his wife took him and raised him. He would spend the summers with her until he was 12 and then he lived with her and spent the summers with her brother and his wife.
Believes lesbians make better mothers because they know more. She didn’t want her son to go into gay life because she felt it would be difficult for him, she doesn’t believe that gay men relationships last. She believes you can teach someone not to be gay.
They talk about gay men and lesbian relationships and social interactions. She would call upon her gay male friends to be her date to events that she needed a date, also sometimes family events. They talk about marriages between a gay man and gay woman. Debra says that she knew quite a few couples who had done that to put up a front, but that those relationships always worked out well. Debra also talks about marriage between two women. She never wanted to get married but knew women who did.
They also discuss alcoholism and drugs among the gay community.
On the second tape, Debra further discusses fights in the lesbian community. Madeline asks if she knew any lesbians who played sports in the 1940s and 1950s. Debra believes lesbians played sports but cannot definitely say so.