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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Jeanne Cordovas' "When we were Outlaws"



Jeanne Cordova’s work focused on her personal struggles and political activities, as well as her work as a lesbian-feminist, during the turbulent 70’s decade. Along the way, the Gay Community Services Center was built, and although it was supposed to be symbolically a place for all queer people of the time, it quickly became heavily centered on male leadership, discounting all female or female-identified experiences. Not only was that brutal misogyny against lesbians, it was very harming to the queer community as a whole at the time. Cordova herself, throughout the memoir, tried to help bridge these conflicts in order to keep the lesbian and gay men on the same side. 

Personally, I have to disagree with what Cordova stated near the end of the book where she said that lesbian and gay men are more “realigned” nowadays. In my experience, a rift between lesbian and gay men is still present in many social settings. Take for instance gay bars. Not only is the presence of women frequenting bars in West Hollywood small, it's at times non-existent. 

Of course, this rift may not be a rift at all. Maybe men, at least in bar culture, feel the need to keep their own space, if only to be promiscuous in peace without having females present, possibly based on a biological sense. Maybe lesbians do not bond over gay clubbing like some men do. There are still other elements in today's world that seem anti-lesbian to me created by the gay male community. Sitcoms like “Modern Family,” or “Will and Grace,” make gay characters create at the lesbian community that seem highly discriminatory against lesbians. Many times in television they are a stereotypical lesbian, bordering crude satire and making references to Home Depot and flannel shirts that seem over-the-top in many cases.

I must concede, however, in saying that there might be a possibility that it's not as bad as it was before. I will say, though, that it can be much better than it is.

Two questions I would love answered by Jeanne Cordova are:
1.     1.  How do you feel about the Gay and Lesbian Center’s female leadership? Do you believe it's what you felt was needed before?
2.     1.  Looking back, do you still resent Sylvia Patton’s presence in the battle vs. the GCSC leadership?

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