WINDY CITY TIMES
||1971: The Chicago Daughters of Bilitis
Excerpt from Chicago After Stonewall: Gay Lib to Gay Life
by Sukie de la Croix
This article shared 1893 times since Mon May 3, 2021
An excerpt from Chicago After Stonewall: Gay Lib to Gay Life, a new book by St Sukie de la Croix. You can buy the book from Amazon.com, all good bookstores, and for a signed copy, rattlinggoodyarns.com .
"At the time of the Stonewall Riots, the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB) was on hiatus in Chicago. The DOB was one of the first lesbian organizations. It was formed in 1955 in San Francisco and took its name from a book of poems by Pierre Louys called Songs of Bilitis. Bilitis was a female character in a romance with Greek poet, Sappho. According to documents at the McCormick Library of Special Collections at Northwestern University, in August 1969 Helen Baldwin attempted to start a new DOB group from a P.O. Box in Brookfield, IL. The Daughters of Bilitis/Chicago Newsletter announced a visit from Rita LaPorte, DOB national president, on January 25, 1970. On October 10, 1969, while attending "Sex Week" activities at the University of Nevada, LaPorte is quoted in the Reno Gazette-Journal, 'A man isn't necessary for making love and because he realizes it, he's miserable … men are merely necessary for impregnation and it bothers their egos.' LaPorte goes on to suggest that men feel threatened by lesbians and attempt to seduce them, 'They have to be big shots. It upsets them a great deal if a woman isn't interested in what they have. And they are also threatened on the intellectual level.' LaPorte did not support same-sex marriage, but would 'like to have the legal and tax advantages that go with marriage.'
"The discreet Chicago DOB with their plea to 'shy violets' and the more strident 'cast off the chains of male oppression' of the Lavender Woman collective were opposite ends of the lesbian political spectrum, though they were united in sisterhood. Nothing else has so far emerged about this 1969-1970 incarnation of DOB but it seems unlikely it lasted, because it harked back to the genteel Gab 'n' Java get-togethers of Chicago DOB groups in the early 1960s. In the DOB Chicago Area Provisional Charter minutes of March 9, 1962, the names of those present were Marge Heinz, Nellie Tumilty, Jean Stroud, Betsy Boyette and Del Shearer. At a time when lesbians could be fired from their jobs, lose their children, and be arrested for not wearing three items of female apparel, 'discretion, loyalty and secrecy' were paramount. The screening procedure for new members was stringent and strictly adhered to. The Provisional Charter minutes read:
"A discussion of interviewing procedures for new members led to the passing of a motion that all members shall be questioned on the following topics in the following manner: at a meeting or outside interview, she shall be asked by a member whether or not she is homosexual, her reasons for joining D.O.B., her familiarity with D.O.B.'s purpose, how she feels the organization may benefit her, and how she may benefit the organization. At a second meeting or interview she shall be asked again what she feels the purpose of D.O.B is, whether or not she believes in that purpose, if she realizes the primary nature of the organization over the individual personality conflicts and feelings, and questions to determine whether she realizes the requirement of the group loyalty."
This article shared 1893 times since Mon May 3, 2021
| ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE|
|State Farm drops GenderCool Project; Illinois General Assembly LGBTQ Caucus, Equality Illinois respond|
This week in response to an outcry from a hateful few, Illinois-based insurer State Farm dropped their support for The GenderCool Project, which provides LGBTQ-affirming books to schools across the country on a voluntary basis. We ...
|Actor/model David Pevsner challenges age and body stereotypes in recent book |
When writing his recent bookDamn Shame: Desire, Defiance and Show Tunesactor/model/filmmaker David Pevsner noticed three themes coming to the fore: body shame, sexuality and ageism. "All three of those are ...
|Gayla Turner talks new book uncovering her grandmother's secret queer identity|
In Gayla Turner's debut book, Don't You Dare: Uncovering Lost Love (BookBaby, May 24), she reveals her Grandmother Ruby's (1896-1977) century-old secret queer identity that she hid from the wider world. This revelation became c ...
|HIV/AIDS activist Rae Lewis-Thornton on her new memoir, 'Unprotected'|
Emmy-winning HIV/AIDS activist, author, minister, political organizer, motivational speaker, life coach, jewelry designer and social media figure Rae Clara Lewis-Thornton's recently released book, Unprotected: A Memoir, is already a pre-release ...
|TV Writer Joel Kim Booster, director Andrew Ahn take a trip to 'Fire Island'|
Based on the classic Jane Austen book Pride and Prejudice, the new Fox Searchlight film Fire Island has an important story to tell LGBTQ+ audiences specifically. In that story, there are plenty of laughs along the ...
|Chicago Bears release schedule; Yankees pound White Sox|
After alternating home and road games throughout the entire 2021 season for the first time in franchise history, the Chicago Bears have a more conventional schedule in 2022, according to a press release. It features three ...
|BOOKS 'Tinderbox' author to appear in Palatine on June 14|
Author Robert Fieseler will discuss his debut book—Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation—on Tuesday, June 14, at 7 p.m. at Palatine's Cutting Hall Performing Arts Center, ...
|Plaque unveiled in NYC to honor headquarters of NAACP, other progressive groups|
On May 11, Village Preservation and The New School were joined by historians David Levering Lewis, Amy Aronson, Brian McGrath and Stephen Brier for the unveiling of a plaque marking 70 Fifth Ave. as the historic ...
|THEATER Underscore's 'Notes & Letters' running through May 28 |
Underscore Theatre Company celebrates its 10th-anniversary season with the world premiere of the musical Notes & Letters, which features book, music and lyrics by Annabelle Lee Revak (she/her) and is ...
|'LGBT Milwalkee' project earns first round of funding|
-- From a press release. LGBT Milwaukee history video below - Milwaukee, WI. - Thanks to generous financial support, the LGBT MILWALKEE project has achieved its first round of fundraising goals and will launch a local walking tour app on Thursday, June 1. "To date, we've received ...
|Book-signing for HIV/AIDS activist's 'Unprotected: A Memoir' on May 21|
-- From a press release - "I had been torn apart by the doings of others and blamed myself for surviving to the best of my ability. It would literally take decades for me to understand that I was the product of what happened to me." Emmy ...
|Gerber/Hart announces change in leadership|
Wil Brant is no longer executive director of Gerber/Hart Library and Archives. According to an open letter from board co-chairs James Conley and Kevin Nunley as well as Board Treasurer Becky Chmielewski, Brant "served in this ...
|MUSIC Madonna curating, releasing dance-music compilation 'Finally Enough Love'|
Madonna made history once again when she topped the Dance Club Songs chart for the 50th time, making her the first and only recording artist to have 50 number-one hits on any Billboard chart. To celebrate ...
|'It Was Vulgar and It Was Beautiful' explores art collective's part in HIV/AIDS activism|
In Jack Lowery's book, It Was Vulgar and It Was Beautiful: How AIDS Activists Used Art to Fight a Pandemic, the historian shares how the art collective Gran Fury utilized community-made propaganda to address the HIV/AIDS ...
|Wisconsin LGBTQ History Project showcases 'History of Milwaukee Drag' starting June 27|
-- From a press release - Milwaukee, WI. - A History of Milwaukee Drag: Seven Generations of Glamour, by local historians Michail Takach and BJ Daniels, will be released Monday, June 27 by The History Press. For nearly 150 years, Milwaukee has ...