Lesbian Herstory Archives AudioVisual Collections

Browse Items (9 total)

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    This recording of the “Women’s Showcase” is the third part of three from the NYU hosted event, Women Against Rape. Ellyn Joyce the author of the poetry book “Instinct for Survival” reads selected poems from her own work. Before each reading Ellyn offers a little insight into what inspired her. At the end of the recording she discusses her work at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility and advocates for better treatment of the women imprisoned there.
  • 053-17_clark-corner_a_c_1.mp4

    A woman reports about discrimination and threats she and her girlfriend faced when they kissed at a restaurant in Brooklyn Heights. She talks about the “kiss in” she and the Lesbian Avengers were having restaurant in protest. She also talks about plans to file a police report and take legal action if possible.
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    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.
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    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.
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    The gay movement has taken the lesbian community out of the bars or the "gay underworld," as compared to when she came out in the late 1960s, about 10 years prior to the interview. Portia, age 26, is not out at her job, but is known as a feminist and civil rights activist; her sister is openly homosexual. She talks about her early sexual experiences with girls and how she never felt guilty or different, but felt guilty with boys because of her Catholic upbringing. Her father beat Portia after she went out with her lover, and then she moved out of home at 18. She attended university and discusses her relationships and friendships in college, as well as her relationship with her first lover, who is still her partner, and their infidelities.
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    Audio cassette. Oral History Interview of Mabel Hampton. Mabel discusses her first girlfriend, a white woman she met while working at a girl's school. She also discusses her three year relationship with a married woman she worked for as a domestic worker, whom she considers her first love. In addition, she discusses her life as a dancer and her trips to a private lesbian club, frequented by notable women. She then relates how she was briefly abducted, attacked and robbed, and how she escaped and how her friends sought revenge on her attackers.
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    Pat shows family photos. She says several of her family members were gay, including her mother and brother. She talks about bars, the 557 and 217, with racially mixed clientele. She describes violence when straight men tried to dance with gay women. She mentions other favorite bars from the 1950s: the Chesterfield, the KittyCat, Club Coco, the 469. Pat describes her relationships, many of which involved "messing around on and off" for many years. She describes coming out to her mother at age 13, and talks about the "white girls from Canada" (lesbians) who were her mother's friends.
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    Side A: Pat and DJ discuss the characteristics of femme identity. The interviewers say they are looking to interview more femmes, which leads to a discussion of the names and locations of lesbians who were a part of the community in the 1940s. The interviewers also mention the difficulties of interviewing lesbians who have not come out. The group discusses why butches are more willing to talk. Pat talks about her time at the Good Shepherd home. There is a brief discussion about the role of lesbians in World War II.

    Cut off at 0:14:55

    Side B: The group continues their discussion of the interview process, including who is willing to talk and who is not, as well as who will use their names and who will not. There is more discussion about beatings. Pat tells of coming out to her mother. Her mother only worries about the violence Pat is subjected to, on account of being butch. There is a long discussion about the nature of breakups and their aftermath. The group discusses the role of third parties in most breakups and the way a butch or femme reacts to a breakup. The issue of "passing" comes up, and Pat talks about working as a cab driver and passing as a man. Often, the children of femmes did not know that their mothers' partners were actually women. The interview concludes with a description of the rules for asking other butches' girlfriends to dance, and the fights that sometimes ensued. This point in the discussion highlights the difference between the generation of the interviewees and the generation of the interviewers.
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    Side A: Pat and DJ continue the discussion of relationships during the 1950s from tape cassette SPW457. The two women discuss aspects of how to make relationships long-lasting and the importance or lack thereof of sexual intimacy in relationships. Both Pat and DJ discuss personal opinions related to intimacy in relationships, particularly in long-term relationships. The discussion then turns to types of attraction and intimacy.

    Side B: Pat and DJ continue to discuss relationships during the 1950s and talk about reasons for breaking up. The discussion revolves around the importance of taking care of a woman and being able to satisfy her needs. The two women discuss the negative stigma of cheating. The discussion turns to take pride in a partner and the importance of her appearance and physical presence. Pat and DJ also talk about the presence of violence during relationships in the 1950s, listing insecurity between partners as the main reason. The two women speak specifically of violence in bars as a result of talking to another woman’s lady or challenging femmes in relationships to talk to other women. They discuss how much of this behavior was learned from lesbian role models of the 1940s.
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