Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

DePaul staff, students discuss lesbian identity
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times
2016-03-06

This article shared 2035 times since Sun Mar 6, 2016
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


The Center for Identity, Inclusion & Social Change, LGBTQ Studies and the LGBTQ Faculty and Staff Network at DePaul University hosted an intergenerational discussion concerning the identity label "lesbian" Feb. 29 at DePaul University's Student Center.

Faculty members Lourdes Torres (professor of Latin American and Latino Studies) and Ann Russo (associate professor and graduate program director in women's and gender studies and director of LGBTQ Studies) facilitated the talk.

Also on hand were DePaul University students and staff members Katy Weseman (LGBTQA student services coordinator at the Center for Identity, Inclusion & Social Change), Sara Furr (director, Center for Intercultural Programs) and Suresh Mudragada (assistant director at the Center for Identity, Inclusion & Social Change), among others.

Following introductions by Torres and Russo, they showed the first part of a documentary Searching For the Last Lesbian Bars In America, by JD Samson for VICE's women's interest channel Broadly (www.youtube.com/watch?v=JePugX1YkG4).

Torres noted her years of activism around lesbian issues, including as a board member of the now-defunct Amigas Latinas. She also talked about the history project she's currently working on about Latina lesbian organizing in Chicago.

Russo said she identifies as a "lesbian with queer politics and a queer vision." She noted the work she's done in the area of lesbian-centered scholarship and activism, including the Battered Lesbian Network (in Boston), Lesbians Against Racism and Dykes Against Oppression.

Torres explained that there are many reasons why they decided to have this conversation. As the documentary showed, over the years lesbian spaces have been disappearing and Torres has wondered why this is happening. She noted that even at the recent Creating Change conference there was a dearth of lesbian-specific workshops. Torres said that this is a question being asked by scholars, organizations and activists who have worked under this identity label.

Russo noted that there was a negative response from some individuals to the title of the event: "Are Lesbians Still Relevant: An Intergenerational Dialogue." She explained that the title was meant to be provocative, but not hurtful; the aim was to allow an exploration of why the identity label seems less visible and less significant to claim at this moment in time, as evidenced in specifics that Torres outlined.

Attendees were asked what their relationships were to the term "lesbian" and a number of them identified as queer, not lesbian. This cut across generations.

Torres noted that it was difficult for her to come out publicly as a lesbian and, for her, the word is really important. During her journey, she met lesbian feminists who help her understand her identity. Torres said studying people in the Latina lesbian community, such as Gloria Anzaldua, shaped her world view in many ways.

Russo explained that it was also hard for her to come out publicly and, unlike Torres, she's had a conflicted relationship with the word "lesbian" since when she came out many lesbians didn't believe her because she had long hair, i.e., she looked too feminine for them. She noted that she identified with feminism more than with gay politics due to the predominately male leadership in the wider LGBT movement at the time.

Torres spoke about the decline of lesbian-specific publications and places, and asked if that's a problem that needs to be addressed. She also noted that some people think "lesbian" denotes white and middle-class and, for some people, the term has a negative connotation.

One student said that, for her, the word means traditionally feminine in one's looks.

Wesemen noted that the TV show The L Word contributed to the notion of traditional feminity due to who was cast in the show.

Torres explained that she learned about lesbian culture by reading the works of women of color such as Anzaldua and Audre Lorde.

As for the butch members of the lesbian/queer community, Russo said there has been a bias against them when it comes to advertising and personal ads. She mentioned the Dyke March and its predominantly white participants in the past due to its location in Andersonville, adding that the march's racial politics changed when it was moved out of that neighborhood.

When Russo asked, "Are there things organized under the queer label that are specifically orientated toward the lesbian community?," Hannah, an undergraduate student from Georgia who identifies as asexual, said that where she's from, "queer" is still a slur.

"I think there's something constructive to having an inclusive term like 'queer,'" said Hannah. "I also think we need to recognize the nuanced realities of more specific qualifiers and identifiers within that umbrella because for me the specific power of the word lesbian denotes the possibility of women living their lives completely free of men."

As far as takeaways, Furr noted that there are strength and power in the language; however, there's also an inability to access identity that's important to recognize.

Mudragada explained that since women haven't been able to participate equally in terms of economics this has effected lesbian-specific spaces being able to stay open.

Russo said that there isn't any one right answer and noted the importance of different labels for each individual.

Torres explained that the term "lesbian" has been empowering to her, but she welcomes further discussion on the issue.


This article shared 2035 times since Sun Mar 6, 2016
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

OPALGA+ Scholarship Gala taking place Oct. 23 2021-09-21
- The 2021 OPALGA+ (Oak Park Area Lesbian & Gay Association+) Scholarship Gala will take place Saturday, Oct. 23, at Nineteenth Century Club, 178 Forest Ave., Oak Park. Cocktails will begin at 6 p.m., with the program/dinner ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Carl Bean dies, LGBT History Month, military events, Dykes on Bikes 2021-09-19
- Archbishop Carl Bean—an openly gay former Motown singer, longtime AIDS activist and leader in the LGBTQ church movement—died at age 77, The New York Daily News reported. In a statement entitled "The Giant Sleeps," the Unity ...


Gay News

WORLD Germany's compensation, Lyra McKee, LGBTQ Afghans, tennis player 2021-09-19
- Germany has compensated almost 250 people who were prosecuted or investigated under a Nazi-era law criminalizing homosexuality, according to euronews. By September, 317 people had applied for compensation for their ...


Gay News

'Homophile' organization New Gay Liberation Front launches 2021-09-13
- The New Gay Liberation Front—which described itself in a press release as a "homophile organization"—has launched. "Homophile" is a term that was used by some gay and lesbian groups in the 1950s. According to the University ...


Gay News

Constand breaks silence about Bill Cosby 2021-09-07
- Bill Cosby accuser Andrea Constand is breaking her silence to NBC News about the comic/actor's release from prison two months ago, Deadline noted. In a brief clip, Constand tells Kate Snow she "was really shocked — ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Pioneering lesbian business owner Susan Mazer dies 2021-09-04
- Susan Mazer died August 31 due to COVID-19 complications. She was 77. At the time of her death, Mazer was living in Port Saint Lucie, Florida with her wife Janet Norton. Mazer was born May 10, ...


Gay News

HIV AT 40: Global activist Phill Wilson talks Chicago, the '80s and vaccines 2021-09-01
- Phill Wilson is one of the best-known HIV/AIDS activists/educators around the globe. The Chicago native was the co-founder of the National Black Lesbian and Gay Leadership Forum and the National Task Force on AIDS Prevention. He ...


Gay News

TENNIS U.S. Open to celebrate Pride on Sept. 1 2021-08-28
- Rainbow flags will be flying at the USTA (United States Tennis Association) Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Wed., Sept. 1, as the USTA celebrates and welcomes the LGBTQ+ community to the first-ever Open Pride ...


Gay News

Report features eight Illinois child-welfare agencies working with HRC Foundation 2021-08-26
--From a press release - WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, released a new report ...


Gay News

ART 'Frida Kahlo: Timeless' extended to Sept. 12 2021-08-26
- "Frida Kahlo: Timeless," hosted by the Cleve Carney Museum of Art (CCMA) and the McAninch Arts Center (MAC) at the College of DuPage (COD), has been extended an additional week to Sept. 12. To date, "Timeless" ...


Gay News

WORLD Trapped in Afghanistan, lesbian pioneer, anti-gay crimes, Valencia's bid 2021-08-22
- Among the Americans trapped in the suburban areas of Kabul, Afghanistan, under Taliban control was Josie Thomas, 32, a transgender government contractor for the U.S. State Department and former U.S. Air Force Sergeant, The Washington Blade ...


Gay News

COMEDY Cameron Esposito at The Den on Oct. 2 2021-08-17
- The Den Theatre will present out comedian Cameron Esposito Saturday, Oct. 2d at 8 pm on The Heath Mainstage, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave.. Esposito is a standup comic, actor and writer who has appeared across television ...


Gay News

GLAAD highlights how Olympians used Tokyo Games to call for LGBTQ acceptance 2021-08-11
--From a press release - (August 11, 2021) GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, is highlighting how this year's historic number of out LGBTQ athletes repeatedly stood ...


Gay News

LGBTQ women's music event 'Still Rising' on Aug. 21 2021-08-12
- Still Rising—for LGBTQ women DJs, producers, promoters and their allies—will take place Saturday, Aug. 21, at Epiphany Center for the Arts, 201 S. Ashland Ave. There will be a mixer, workshops and, of course, music at ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Biden nominees, San Diego crime, HRC, Fox News contributor 2021-08-08
- President Joe Biden reappointed out lesbian Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum as a commissioner of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which is an advisory post pertaining to issues of religious freedom, Gay City News reported. ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.