This Is What Lesbian Looks Like: Dyke Activists Take on the 21st Century

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The 26 lesbian activists in this wandering collection are united in their dismay over the absence of a broad-based, grassroots social justice movement in the U.S. today. Lamenting a lack of political awareness among young people in particular, the authors pinpoint some of the predictable deterrents to effective organizing: internalized racism, homophobia, ageism and infighting. While they don't offer a specific blueprint for change, these sometimes meditative, sometimes earnest essays (many of which have been reprinted or adapted from other contexts) weigh how all social concerns, not just gay and lesbian ones, are fundamentally interconnected. Although editor Kleindienst's rhetorical introductions to every essay add a textbook feel, and a number of contributions suffer from pedestrian writing or familiar platitudes ("Only in unity with each other and in coalition with our allies can we move ahead to achieve our common agenda"), readers will be drawn to familiar standouts, including Dorothy Allison (who, in an essay originally published in Harper's, reflects on the hostility she encounters from the gay community when appearing in public with her straight-looking family), Joan Nestle, Urvashi Vaid and Barbara Smith (who succinctly characterizes good leadership as "humor, cooperation, reliability, humility, and kindness"). Among the appealing new voices is Surina Kahn's, as she recalls how, as a Pakistani teenager, she thought the best way to assimilate herself in America was to vote Republican. Despite the volume's hit-or-miss quality, it documents some forceful voices on everyday activism, even for those for whom "being out was all I could do." (Jan.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Kleindienst has gathered essays by a wide range of activists--Dorothy Allison, Joan Nestle, and Urvashi Vaid, as well as lesser known figures--in an effort to paint a broad picture of the lesbian movement. Kleindienst, herself an activist and the co-owner of Left Bank Books in St. Louis, includes writers who outline their activist pasts and offer "how-to" advice, and those who present theoretical pieces on issues influencing the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender movement. Essayists consider racism within the movement; the place of transgendered people in the lesbian community; queer parenting; and femme sexuality. As with most anthologies, the quality of the essays varies. Recommended for public libraries with large gay and lesbian studies collections.--Debra Moore, Loyola Marymount Univ. Lib., Los Angeles Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Sherri Paris
This Is What Lesbian Looks Like is a smart and accessible set of theoretical essays written by lesbians who are long-time and effective political activists.
The Women's Review of Books
This is What Lesbian Looks Like is a smart and accessible set of theoretical essays written by lesbians who are long-time and effective political activists.... The title of the book, in a sense, is literal. Each of the essays provides a word snapshot which enables the readers to visualize lesbian life. Not only that, this is a book with real pictures: the reader gets to "see" what the writers look like.
The Women's Review of Books
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781563411168
  • Publisher: Firebrand Books, LLC
  • Publication date: 6/1/1999
  • Series: Lesbian Studies
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 5.44 (w) x 8.45 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 11
Mama and Mom and Dad and Son 16
A Chronology of Consciousness: The Politics of Visibility 24
Girls Just Want to Have Fun 36
This Dyke's a Leftie--This Leftie Is a Dyke 46
The Emperor's New Clothes, or How Not to Run a Movement 62
Strip! 70
We Are All Works in Progress 80
Changing Everything, or How to Queer the Family 90
Poets Live the Questions 100
One Old Lesbian's Perspective 116
Color Me White 126
Evolution 136
Being a Woman of Color and Surviving Racism 146
Who Is the "We"? 152
The Politics of Thinking 166
Thoughts on Youth 174
Lesbian/Sex: About What We Do and Desire, and Its Relation to Community and Identity (or, How I Learned to Love the Sex Wars) 182
Moving Between Fool and Freedom: The Ego of Activism 192
What You See Is What You Get: Building a Movement Toward Liberation in the Twenty-First Century 210
Reclamations 220
Hawai'ian Sovereignty/Gay Marriage: Ka Huliau 230
Doing It From Scratch: The Challenge of Black Lesbian Organizing 244
Sex, Love, and Birth Control in the Twenty-First Century 258
Citizen Queer 268
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