Gay Life Volume 33, Number 4
I was born a woman, but I wasn’t always a feminist. Before I understood the value of gender studies, I took a class called Women’s History in America. That course opened my eyes to fundamental, almost axiomatic, omissions in my otherwise quality education. Unlike previous history classes, I found myself in a setting where the actions of American women were not offered as a postscript to the accomplishments of white men. Instead, the professor re-taught American history with women front and center.
I had initially resisted the allure of women’s studies because I did not see value in studying the world through any particular lens. Presented with new evidence, I could only conclude the supposedly objective historical reality that I had been taught was in fact just a patriarchal, Eurocentric lens of its own. This revelation plunged me into the undiscovered country of feminist thinkers and writers – many of whom were lesbians – who had come to this understanding long before I did. Even women’s studies had its flaws; some feminists marginalized African American women, ignored issues pertaining to poor women, or distanced themselves from lesbians. But with more study came a greater understanding of our complete history as humans, a history shaped and defined by many fascinating figures of all possible persuasion.
Perhaps one day we won’t need special holidays to celebrate the accomplishments of women and minorities, but rather future history classes will give equal light to these subjects from the start. We don’t gain anything by ignoring (or pretending to ignore) our sexual orientation or gender identity. Baltimore native Adrienne Rich recognized this:
“What does it mean that my own work can be respectfully quoted and discussed in the academic classroom and in articles without acknowledging that it is the work of a lesbian?”
Therefore, this month, we proudly bring you an issue celebrating some of the exceptional lesbian women who have made a difference in our Baltimore.
Maggie Beetz, Editor