Lesbian Herstory Archives AudioVisual Collections

Browse Items (23 total)

  • 447.jpg

    Linda talks about her relationships and the idea there are no longer clearly defined lesbian roles (i.e. butch and femme) in relationships, as there were when she first came out in the 1960s. She describes her family life growing up and when she came out to her family.
  • 457.jpg

    Side A: Liz and Madeline ask Pat and DJ for feedback on a draft of "Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold." Pat claims the book paints too rosy a picture of lesbian life, underplaying the prejudice most lesbians encountered in the 1940s and '50s. Both talk about the Buffalo bar scene in the 1940s and '50s: mentioned are Carousel, Bingo's, the Chesterfield, Ralph Martin's, the Mardi Gras, and the Midtown. The discussion shifts to relationships, faithfulness, and prostitutes.

    Recording has loud feedback sounds and squeaks at the beginning.

    Side B: Pat and DJ discuss bar denizens vs. lesbians who did not frequent bars and the "class" distinction there, and also the way non-butch lesbians looked down on butches. DJ describes how her long-term relationships were analogous to marriage, where she was the breadwinner and her partners were housewives who perhaps worked but did not "provide." Both discuss the fact that in the 1940s and '50s butches had the freedom to have affairs whereas femmes were expected to be faithful. This created an atmosphere of mistrust in which monogamous long-term relationships became very difficult.

    Recording has loud squeaks at the beginning, hisses throughout, and cuts off abruptly at the end.
  • 455.jpg

    Side A: Pat talks about her childhood in North Port, N.Y., her relationship with her parents and siblings. She goes into detail about her estranged relationship with her older sister. She describes when she first knew that she was a lesbian and tells the history of her relationships with women. She starts with her first affair at age 13, with a nun from her Catholic school - Sister Eugenie - to a relationship she had with Maryann (Marty). She describes her time at nursing school in Niagara Falls, N.Y., and the gay bars she frequented until she moved to Florida with her then girlfriend. She says she moved to Buffalo, N.Y., in the late 1950s, and describes the Buffalo bar scene, mentioning Dingles, Mardi Gras, the Chesterfield, the Carousel and the Carol Hotel. Pat mentions that the Carousel was very elite, something she did not like. This leads her into a discussion on “role play” and how important it was to distinguish oneself as either a butch or a femme. She classified herself as butch, but stated that she was very uncomfortable with the label and now prefers to be less overt.

    Side B: In this interview Pat talks about how she does not like or feel comfortable in the gay community. She has never identified with it, or been made to feel welcome. This is one of the reasons that she does not maintain friendships with other lesbians, unless she is having a sexual relationship with them. She mentions being victimized and physically assaulted because she was a butch lesbian. Interviewer Madeline enters the discussion, speaking about her own sexual experiences with women. Madeline classifies Pat as “untouchable,” something that Pat denies, stating that she is simply very private. She feels that sex is a necessary but not important part of a relationship; it is something that is never sought or welcomed. She is suspicious of those who claim to experience sexual pleasure, including Madeline.
  • 449.jpg

    Cindy or Joan (speaker unclear) discusses her experience of growing up in a working class family. She also discusses going to bars as she got older, and her relationships with women. She describes lesbians being harassed by police officers in the past. She also describes how her car was vandalized once, which she thinks was because she is a lesbian.

    Speakers' identities are unclear throughout. Recording label identifies Cindy and Joan but it is hard to tell if there are actually two separate speakers.

    Sound quality is poor. Tape cuts off abruptly at the end.
  • 466.jpg

    Phil talks about being in a relationship with another woman and how she provided for her. She also goes on to talk about how other butch femmes provided for their partners and what would happen when they would break up. Phil further goes on to talk about gay literature and her problems with it. She also discusses gay bars and the lack of support for them.
  • 451.jpg

    Judy discusses butch and femme identities, social interactions, and role-play within relationships. She expresses relief over how these once rigid demarcations of identity have become more flexible within the lesbian community. Later, however, she notes "class" differences that continue to striate lesbians as a social group.

    The social conditions, the acceptance of lesbians, and the "openness" of homosexuals are compared between New York, Florida, and Toronto. References are made to anti-gay activist Anita Bryant and others who put social pressure on lesbians to stay closeted.

    Additionally, Judy touches upon negotiating workplace discrimination and "nosy" neighbors. She briefly mentions her relationship with her family and what it was like growing up in Buffalo.
  • spw1152_B.mp3

    Audio recording of a panel presentation at the Fourth Berkshire Conference on the History of Women. Includes Audre Lorde.
  • spw1153_B.mp3

    Audio recording of a panel presentation at the Fourth Berkshire Conference on the History of Women. "Power, Oppression and the Politics of Culture: A Lesbian/Feminist Perspective" included Audre Lorde
  • 34159_ca_object_representations_media_151_original.jpg

    Audre Lorde appears on Susan Howe's WBAI radio program "Poetry." She reads "Black Studies," "To My Daughter The Junkie On The Train," "To The Girl Who Lives In A Tree," "Song For A Thin Sister," "Oya," and "The Brown Menace" from her book New York Head Shop and Museum. On Side B, she reads newer poems including, "Solstice," "Dahomey," "Nobody Wants To Die On The Way," "School Note," and "Power."
  • 34159_ca_object_representations_media_151_original.jpg

    Preceded by short presentation from representative of the recently vandalized Diana Press. Speakers, in order of appearance: moderator Julia Stanley (unnamed on tape); Mary Daly; Audre Lorde (11:38 into Side B); Judith McDaniel; Adrienne Rich. Lorde's speech is the original draft of her essay "The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action."
  • spw1163_A.mp3

    Event organized by the Committee for the Visibility of the Other Black Woman. Audre Lorde moderates community discussion and dialogue including issues of identity, cross cultural conflicts, classism, and ageism. She also introduces panelists' presentations. Her most sustained comments are on SPW1163, as she introduces the panel on identity.
  • 12083_ca_object_representations_media_72_original.jpg

    Oral history recording of Joan Nestle. Side A: Joan Nestle speaks about lesbian self-expression and the importance of language to identity. She goes on to talk about her early life and how she was motivated to take a stand against the oppression she saw around her in society, specifically oppression against women and lesbians. Side B: Mabel Hampton takes over as the main speaker and recounts her life story, beginning when she was only one month old. Mabel discusses her early years, including the crucial transition from living with her grandmother to living with her aunt, and how she eventually decided to run away to Jersey City.
  • 55447_ca_object_representations_media_126_original.jpg

    Mabel describes her 1923 arrest (at age 18) and term at Bedford Hills Prison, and the period shortly thereafter.
  • SPW514_DJ.JPG

    Side A: DJ continues her interview from tape SPW513. She finishes discussing her romantic relationships then moves on to discuss gay literature, specifically The Well of Loneliness. The topic of workplace discrimination is mentioned. DJ discusses relationships in the community through the venue of gay and straight bars. Relationships between straight men, lesbians, and bisexual women are discussed as well as race relations. Side B: DJ covers the topic of prostitution in the lesbian community. She speaks about the choice some lesbians make to marry men and have kids.
  • SPW497_Debra.jpg

    Debra discusses her experiences as a lesbian. She talks about her first lesbian relationship when she was 12, how she was married for one day, how her mother knew something was different about her, and how her sister figured out she was a lesbian because she was only married for one day.
    She talks about her relationships with women, how she never openly acknowledged that she was gay but if she was asked she wouldn’t deny it.
    They discuss monogamy, she was mostly faithful, but she also talks about jealous partners and how when one is accused of things, one might as well and go ahead and do it.
    She doesn’t believe that a lesbian relationship is any different than a straight relationship.
    They discuss bars and areas in Buffalo that she would frequent: Moon Glow bar, Pearls bar, Ralph Martins, Ryan’s Hotel, Little Harlem. They also discuss dating rituals, fashion, and relationship/ courting roles.
  • julie_lee.jpg

    Julie Lee and her partner [Ginny] are interviewed in 1989. They discuss relationships, lesbian communities, activism and the civil rights movement. Julie talks about her role as secretary of the New York chapter of DOB and her roles in United Sisters, ACLU, etc. They both talk about police harassment and how 'out' lesbians lost their jobs. Julie also mentions her pseudonym.
  • ruth_simpson.jpg

    Ruth Simpson is interviewed in Woodstock, New York. She talks about her past experience dating men and falling in love. She discusses coming out and realizing her sexual orientation when she was doing theater in college.
  • billye talmadge.jpg

    Billye Talmadge discusses her early experiences as she came to understand her own preferences and sexuality, and the support she received from her college dean, classmate, and mother. She describes her role in the Daughters of Bilitis and the responsibilities and liabilities of being an officer in the group. She elaborates on the social and political climate of the times, and how she endeavored to help people overcome their fear of harassment and discrimination through providing education and supportive counseling and resources.
  • mgStellaRush copy.jpg

    Stella Rush and Helen Sandoz are interviewed in 1987. The interview mostly concerns Stella Rush, who talks about her childhood; specifically her encounters with incest and molestation. She also talks about her experiences with police discrimination in the 1950s and 1960s in L.A. Helen and Stella both talk about being editors of the Ladder and being a part of the DOB. Stella talks about workplace harassment, and fear of loser her job. They show photographs from the 1960s, including some of their cat. The video closes with the two discussing their wedding rings.
  • billye talmadge.jpg

    Billye Talmadge discusses her early experiences as she came to understand her own preferences and sexuality, and the support she received from her college dean, classmate, and mother. She describes her role in the Daughters of Bilitis and the responsibilities and liabilities of being an officer in the group. She elaborates on the social and political climate of the times, and how she endeavored to help people overcome their fear of harassment and discrimination through providing education and supportive counseling and resources.
  • T81_1_35.jpg

    This recording consists of informal interviews and a narrated tour conducted by Martha Shelly as she walks through the museum on the opening of the Women Choose Women exhibit at the New York Cultural Center. Martha Shelley interviews important people tied to this exhibit such as Mario Amaya, director of the New York Cultural Center. Anne Kang, an activist who discusses work with her fellow activists to protest discrimintion against work created by women at Moma and the organization of what would become the Women Choose Women exhibition.
    Artist Muriel Castanis, a self described “sculpturette” shares her enthusiasm for the exhibition and the NY Cultural Center for hosting it. After the conclusion of this section, Martha Shelley conducts a walking tour of the exhibition and discusses selected works that stood out to her. She bumps into Janet Kogan and asks about her works and how they became part of the show.
  • T81_1_42.jpg

    Martha Shelley interviews lesbian students from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale about a number of topics including lesbian publishing, local environmental concerns, and student activism. Mary Flowerpot opens the show with another funny segment before Shelley comes on to address more serious topics. The students discuss a recent incident involving unwarranted police brutality against a local student group (trigger warning).
  • T81_1_38.jpg

    This recording begins with announcements for upcoming poetry readings located throughout New York City. The next segment is a pre-recorded interview panel that offers insight into the gay professional led by a woman identified only as Shoshana. She discusses her own background and experiences in the workplace and then asks her panelists questions about their experiences and difficulties they face. The panelists go on to discuss their hesitancy and fears of what the repercussions of being out on the job would mean. Continuing on, the panelists discuss societal pressures and the vagaries of workplace policies and the paranoia it can lead to. As the discussion concludes, the focus and fear society has on the sexual aspect of being gay is explored. This broadcast concludes with Martha Shelley discussing her feelings of nostalgia on turning 30.
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