Lesbian Herstory Archives AudioVisual Collections

Browse Items (12 total)

  • Andy, 1982, April 20.jpg

    Andy further discusses how she came to construct her butch image. She recalls getting into fights with men and having to give up good jobs because she refused to give up her queer image and identity. She discusses her clash with a teacher when she was in school in the 1950s. She describes her relationship with a prostitute and other close relationships. On side B she talks about breaking into the butch scene and coming out. Andy talks about gay bars and places queer women were welcome or not. She discusses fashion and explains why they wore their t-shirts backward.
  • SPW511_Andy.JPG

    At the start of the interview, Andy talks about the first time someone asked her about sex. She talks about her experience going with hookers. She discusses butches and femmes and argues that femmes aren't "true" lesbians.
  • SPW490.jpg

    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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • SPW505_Bonnie.JPG

    Bonnie discusses rules of conduct within the lesbian community, including domestic violence, beginning and ending relationships, identifying as butch or femme, and domestic roles. Other topics include prostitution with women and men, bisexuality, definitions of lesbianism, types of relationships, and her rules of attraction.
  • SPW488_BUFF.jpg

    Talks about dating a prostitute, lesbian prostitutes, lesbians and butches having sex with men, lesbian pregnancy, clothing styles,
  • 452.jpg

    Side A: Mary Ann discusses her experiences going out in public with her girlfriends, and the treatment they receive at restaurants, bars, and on the street. She mentions that their public treatment is very often instigated by the masculine way her partners are dressed; she herself has always been very femme. Mary Ann talks about her incarceration for robbery, and her time in a psychiatric hospital for depression and attempted suicide.

    Side B: Mary Ann continues to discuss her time in jail. She took on a butch look, and began to receive small gifts under her cell door from femme girls in other divisions. She developed relationships with different girls that she worked with while in jail, and talks about lookouts, or "chickies," standing watch for girls who were with their partners in the showers or elsewhere. She then talks about her sex life with a long-term partner of 22 years, with whom she raised foster children. Later, she touches on her job as a dancer at Buffalo clubs, and a two-year period when she worked as a prostitute.
  • 453.jpg

    Mary Ann talks about posing as a prostitute for men in a straight bar. She would arrange a meet-up location and then she and two girl friends would overpower and rob men. She describes several muggings she and her two friends carried out. One happened in a hotel; another took place in a man's house with his family there. She claims she and her friends never hurt anybody "more than they had to." Mary Ann also talks about the distinction between gay bars and bars where she would go to hustle. Gay bars were places to have fun with friends and not for prostitution. In one aside, the interviewer asks Mary Ann why she calls her girlfriend "my man," to which she replies that's the way her lover wanted to be addressed.
  • 462.jpg

    Side A: Paula describes various locations where gay men and women would meet each other, like Kleinman's Corner and bars such as Ralph Martin's. Often these locations also served as hubs for sex workers. She speaks about the rigidly defined roles of "butch" and "femme" provided for lesbians during the 1940s. Paula talks about her life as femme and being married to a man who introduced her to gay/lesbian life. She discusses her sexual life and the type of sex that women had with each other in the 1940s, specifically within the strict binary of butch and femme. Paula recalls the social life at bars, such as Ralph Martin's, which included dancing, drag shows, prostitution, and drugs.

    Side B: Paula speaks about her family life in relation to her sexual identity. She talks about her husband's fast lifestyle and her changing preferences eventually causing the dissolution of their marriage. Paula mentions the types of employment she has had, including working in department stores, as a waitress, as a desk clerk at the Genesee Hotel, and on the assembly line at Bell Aircraft. She speaks more about various bars that she went to: Pat's, Dugan's, the Carousel, and the Carlton Hotel. She talks about a long-term relationship that she had, after her divorce, that lasted ten years, as well as traveling out of the Buffalo area to places like Florida, California, and Utica, N.Y.

    The recording cuts off abruptly after 23 minutes.
  • SPW526_SHANE.jpg

    Shane talks about getting into trouble during her teenage years and how her father kept sending her to all-girls schools thinking it would straighten her out. She speaks about gay bars in Buffalo and Pittsburgh. She tells a story about running away from home to pursue a relationship, ending up involved with hustlers and begging her father to help her stay out of jail. She talks about moving back to Buffalo, getting a job, and how things have changed.
  • SPW528_SHANE.jpg

    Shane talks about the different lives she led during her youth. These different roles included working a job at Goodwill, dating and living with hookers on the weekends, and studying to become a Methodist minister as a man. She then talks about her current career as a trucker.
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