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

Sunday, October 28, 2012

When We Were Outlaws

Jeanne Cordova's When We Were Outlaws is a compelling memoir disguised as a novel, in which she combines her experiences as a queer Chicana feminist in the midst of a rising 1970s L.A. lesbian movement with her personal encounters with love. I really enjoyed this read, not only because it was quick and entertaining as a narrative, but also because it reminded me of the importance of "love and revolution", specifically as they relate to one another. Often times the divisive internal politics of a social movement can blind revolutionaries to the importance of loving one another - the author poignantly shows us just to what extent one's own personal idealizations can clash with other members of the movement as well as with one's own turbulent love life.

I have two questions for Jeanne:

1. To you, how does contemporary Queer/PoC activism compare to how it was in the 60s/70s? What aspects are still similar after all these years? What aspects are drastically different? Additionally, what issues do you consider relevant to your interests today that weren't in the 70s?

2. In the early chapters of the book, there is a section where you describe your meeting with Angela Davis and criticize the 'ivory tower'. There is a clear divide between academia and tangible politicizing; how do you feel about this gap and what advice do you have for us (college-educated activists) in that regard?

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