Dykes R Us
There is a yearlong series of events in NYC sponsored by the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at the City University of New York Graduate Center. The series is called "In Amerika They Call Us Dykes" and I am not either endorsing or not endorsing it. I’m just saying that my girlfriend and I went to the second panel event in the series, one about lesbian spaces in the 70s last Friday night. The organizer is a younger PhD candidate with a heap of über impressive credentials that at any age are enviable, but for a dyke in her late 20s/early 30s are incredible to me!
Anyhow, there was the usual academic/activist/literary crowd there. I'm pointing this out AGAIN because it's really demoralizing to have the same women show up at various events around NYC all the time. This was a slightly different crowd than the lesbian comedy show we went to a few weeks ago and different, too, from the reading by our friend the week before that. But, I do have to say that I seem to have been meeting the same lesbian-feminist activist writers and academics for the past 20 years almost without exception.
Thank goodness we have not given up, on the community or on activism, even in this Depression where just surviving financially is a great to concern to a hell of a lot of us.
After the panel, I was talking with author Lisa E. Davis, an older (than me) dyke, who is quite worried about the lack of interest/action on the part of the younger generation. I'm not sure if she means me and my crowd (40s) or the 20-year-olds who today are coming out earlier and earlier and have a political and community consciousness to boot. Probably both. We exchanged business cards and she said to let her know next time we were doing anything naughty. I knew what she meant events: plays my girlfriend might be putting on or performing in, readings I might be doing or stuff I am publishing, etc. I said to her, just for effect, "Well that would be tonight" and wrapped my arm around my girlfriend. Lisa didn't miss a beat and said, “I'm all about public sex myself, so keep me posted." We all laughed. It was a laugh of comrades who had just sat through two hours of a panel of both distinguished and up-and-coming scholars and activists and who have a similar lesbian-feminist consciousness and concern about our community, such as it is.
All the women on the panel were impressive, but one dyke in particular stood out to me: Madeline Davis, co-author (with Liz Kennedy) of Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold: The History of a Lesbian Community. She is a 70something dyke and the only woman on the panel to give a nod to the passion of lesbian relationships and to also acknowledge that we fuck, She said it "…we fuck.“ In the context of an academic event that was, granted, pretty relaxed and with a lot of audience participation, it was more than refreshing to get back to the topic at hand: fucking.
Fucking is important, passion is important. Both are necessary to keep a relationship going, a movement moving and a community alive.
Blogger Bio: Stephanie Schroeder is a dreamer, wanderer and writer based in Brooklyn, NY. She likes to exchange apartments with artists and other interesting folks from around the globe and travel in search of new friends and singular experiences. She makes purple a way of life and also fancies green, purple’s complementary color on the color wheel. (stephanieschroeder.com)