MultiSession Queer Souths, Part 2: Locating Southern Lesbian Feminist Political History

AHA Session 88
Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History 4
Friday, January 4, 2013: 10:30 AM-12:00 PM
Bayside Ballroom A (Sheraton New Orleans)
Alecia P. Long, Louisiana State University
Alecia P. Long, Louisiana State University

Session Abstract

While the U.S. South has long been a site for complex feminist activism, organizing, and community, the role of lesbians in regional progressive political change is often overlooked. This panel represents the new wave of vital historical scholarship being now being done on lesbian feminism and its ongoing effects. It explores three places and times, starting in the 1970s, in which lesbian feminists connected their political engagement with intersecting and coalitional struggles. Pamela Edwards’ paper shows the “not-so-separatist” potentialities and challenges of the “pointedly lesbian political agenda” of the Atlanta Lesbian Feminist Alliance in its links for regional gay rights, local and national feminist agendas, and coalitional work with various progressive and radical causes. Becky Smith’s paper shows how, in Houston, diverse lesbians in the late 1970s and 1980s, advocated for and advanced liberal mainstream political feminist issues across lines of sex and race. Finally, La Shonda Mims’ paper compares the roles of lesbians in promoting Gay Pride events in Charlotte and Atlanta, suggesting that they faced very different challenges in their struggles for legitimacy, recognition, and belonging.  Alecia P. Long, Associate Professor
and Director of the Listening to Louisiana Women Oral History Project in the Department of History at
Louisiana State University, will serve as chair and comment.

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