Please visit the Fall 2012 class website project at Queer Arts Los Angeles Website.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

When We Were Outlaws

Jeanne Cordova’s “When We Were Outlaws” is a memoir of love and revolution. The two topics seemed to be an interesting combination to put on the cover, but nevertheless greatly intertwined. Being a young feminist, activist, and writer it was only necessary for Cordova to document the relationships she held with other women. These love stories only deepened the understanding of revolution, and the meaning of being a woman fighting a war for equality among other women. Cordova states that history plays a pivotal role in her book which enhances the sequential manner of her narrative. As a universal theme, factual evidence is detrimental to supportive an individuals’ opinion, and thus utilized as a form of empowerment that can be transcended by the reader. 

In her book Cordova discusses the 70s as a period of turmoil as gay and lesbian communities come together as powerful organizations. I noticed how the gay men from the Gay Community Services Center are just as “genderized” as heterosexual men. For example, Morris Kights hesitated with promoting women to higher positions at the GCSC. Cordorva mentions that Kight did make an exception for butches but only because gay men were accused by straight for taking on feminine roles. Kights’ decision relates to the sexism that is still seen among heterosexual men. It was disturbing to understand how despite the marginalization of queer people that gay men could be sexist, and accept lesbians as allies. This led to me to believe that Western norms that have been structured to govern societies’ way of living impacts everyone, even in the slightest way, regardless of sex. 

1. Why does Cordova use terminology such as “dyke,” “butch,” and “fag” to describe the lesbians, even though they are considered to be derogatory words?

2. What type of difficulties have you endured not knowing about your Chicano cultural background and instead raised as an American Irish? 

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