Blog & Podcast

Blog & Podcast

For episode 25 we talked to Joan Nestle, Lauren Hortie, Mary Woo Sims, Nadine Boulay and Selly Chiam about lesbian identification and identity formation surrounding the word lesbian. Then afterwards we had a discussion with the archives director Elise Chenier and our archivist Meghan Walley of the clips and our take on the question what does the word lesbian mean?

Join ALOT for a talk by University of Manchester Historian, Laura Doan on May 13th, 2018 at 7PM. It will be held at SFU Harbour Centre Room 7000. Arrive early for refreshments!

Spotting a lesbian in the past is not difficult. Signs abound in the photographs of historical figures such as Radclyffe Hall, a writer now widely associated with lesbianism. For contemporary viewers assigning labels—say, butch lesbian—feels almost second nature. Yet, as historians of sexuality explain, we acquired the habit of defining people’s sexuality this way relatively recently. This talk explores the...

For episode 24 we talked to Dalena Hunter. a Librarian at UCLA Bunche Center for African American Studies who is currently working on her thesis which explores how archives capture Black lesbian experiences and how these materials are used by researchers. We discuss record keeping culture, the racial bias in archival silences, cultures of dissemblance, and the power of memory and history in community.

For episode 23 we talked to Azra Poe and Lindsay Tattersall about their interview with Gretchen, a trans woman living in Nelson. We discuss Gretchen's experience surrounding trans surgery, identity, the language surrounding queerness, and what it looks like to pursue inner truth.

For episode 22 we talked to Lena Bielska and Liliana Piskorska about their new project called Lesbian Herstory Project in Poland implemented by their Herstory Foundation. HerStory Foundation includes oral history projects, workshops, self-defense seminars, and publishing ventures. Lesbian Herstory Project in Poland is the name of their new project that they are trying to start, all about lesbian women from 1945-1989. We also discuss the current status of queer politics in Poland.

For episode 21 we talked to Shonna Hayes, about her interview with Lil and her experience growing up as a lesbian, and we also discuss the changing queer culture in parrallel with the digital age.

“People are making films, people are doing photography projects. There’s a lot of celebratory things that are also happening here to say that the narrative around having an LGBT experience here on the continent isn’t always going to be suffering and isn’t always going to be violent.” - Selly Thiam

For episode 20 we talked to Selly Thiam, founder and executive-director of None on Record, a digital media organization that works with African LGBT communities across the African continent and the diaspora. We discuss the transformative work None on Record is doing to shift perspectives...

The following paper was presented at the 2018 INKE (Implementing New Knowledge Environments) gatherin in Victoria, British Columbia. The theme of the conference this year was "Beyond Open: Implementing Social Scholarship," and we spent the day discussing what "open-access" means when it comes to social sciences and humanities research, viewing open-access scholarship as an enabling strategy to reach more specific end-goals and progress research, and what the future might look like for open-access research.

“Lesbians weren’t ok in the feminist movement. And then lesbians became ok in the feminist movement but then lesbian feminists didn’t want S&M lesbians or dykes to be apart of their feminist movement. So, we get accepted and then we discriminate against somebody else behind us.” - Sarah Humble

For episode 19 we talked to Sarah Humble, co-founder of the Women’s Leather History Program at the Leather Archives and Museum, about her interview with renowned leather community photographer Janet Ryan and her Differently Pleasured photography show of S&M culture. We also discuss the...

For episode 18 we talked to Bonnie Gabel and Indee Mitchell about their project Last Call: New Orleans Dyke Bar History Project. This project creates a digital archive of queer oral history, hosts a podcast series and tutorials and puts on live performances and events in service of these projects.

For episode 17 we talked to Michael Riordon about his experiences collecting interviews for his book Out Our Way: Gay and Lesbian Life in the Country. We discuss his interview with Ann, Beth, and Susan and how understanding the texture of queerness has had different implications over time. We also discuss the particularities of queer activism in rural areas.

For episode 16 we talked to Ashley D. Cole about her thesis “I just wanted to be who I was”: Documenting Queer Voices in the South. We talk about the southern toleration of certain queer acts during different eras of time and how they interesected with race and class. We also speak about the different historical antecedents for female queerness, acts and identities, and hidden oral histories.

For episode 15 we talked with Greta Hurst about her collecting of queer oral history from older queer folk in Vancouver community through the Generations project. We look at her interview with Libby Davies, activist and former MP, and her own experiences with the queer community through the past decades and being outed in 1956 in Montreal. We also discuss McCarthyism and the politics surrounding that time period.

For episode 14 we talked with Julie Enszer about her role as editor of the historic journal Sinister Wisdom and the changing roles of politics throughout the years of its publication.

For episode 12 we talked with Doug O’Keef about the Leather Archives Museum and his interview with the venerable Marge Summit who he interviewed about her experiences owning a lesbian bar.

For episode 12 we talked with Lauren Hortie, co-producer of the short film Midnight at the Continental. We addresses gentrification, immigration, movement hijacking, and butch femme politics and bar culture in 1955 Toronto.

For episode 11 we spoke to Marc Robert Stein about his interview with Anita Cornwell, author of Black Lesbian in White America in 1983. We discuss race, tensions of what is inherent and what is performed in gender, and the effect of race, class, gender, sexuality and geography on a lived historical experience.

For episode 10 we spoke to Elizabeth Kennedy about her interview with Ann from her research that went into creating "Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold: The History of A Lesbian Community.” We discuss butch/femme politics throughout history and the presence of racism and acceptance within the queer community in Buffalo, New York during the period of these interviews in the 1980’s.

For episode 9 we spoke to Nadine Boulay about her interview with Christine and Robin, seminal figures in Vancouver queer activism in the 70’s and 80’s, family politics in the queer experience, and how the concept of sexuality has shifted over time.

For episode 8 we spoke to Mark Kenneth Woods about his documentary "Two Soft Things Two Hard Things" about the queer histories and realities of Inuit people in Nunavut. We discuss ethical considerations approaching this kind of oral history work, colonization’s effect on historial identities, and the rising queer youth generation.

For episode 7 we spoke to Rebecka Sheffield about her project The Beside Table Archives where she interviewed women about the contents of their bedside tables which sparked nuanced conversations of queer life and the queer experience. We discuss archive intervention, and the methodology of collecting oral history.

For episode 6 we spoke to Valerie Korinek about her chapter in the upcoming 2018 anthology Beyond Women's Words. We discuss her chapter titled “Locating Lesbians, Finding ‘Gay Women,’ Writing Queer Histories: Reflections on Oral Histories, Identity, and Community Memory” and the issues of naming and identification in the queer community when trying to conduct oral history research. Would you like to talk with ALOT about your lesbian experience? Our Bridging the Gap project is looking for contributors.

For Episode 5 of the Lesbian Testimony Podcast we spoke to Cameron Duder about their interview of Shirley Petten who won a same sex benefits landmark ruling against the British Columbia Workers’ Compensation Board after the tragedy of losing her partner. We also discuss how to navigate interviewing someone about difficult topics, and how to interview someone you know well. Both great oral history tips! Watch out for our next episode when we speak to Valerie Korinek on her incredible research of rural queer communities. Specifically we will discuss her chapter titled “Locating Lesbians, Finding ‘Gay Women,’ Writing Queer Histories: Reflections on Oral Histories, Identity, and Community Memory” for an upcoming anthology. Would you like to share your oral history with The Archives? We're actively seeking new contributions for our latest project Bridging the Gap.

For Episode 4 we speak with Joan Nestle, a long-time activist, educator, and writer who has made landmark contributions to lesbian culture and history. She is the author of Restricted Country, the editor of A Persistent Desire: A Butch-Femme Reader, and the co-founder of the Lesbian Herstory Archives in Brooklyn, New York. We discuss one of her interviews from the Herstory archive with Mabel Hampton, an African American lesbian born in 1902. We talk about the changes over time of lesbian norms, language, and politics, and how one's positionality as the interviewer is complicated by our historical limitations. Would you like to talk with ALOT about your lesbian experience? Our Bridging the Gap project is looking for contributors.

The Lesbian Testimony Podcast is a project born out of the Archives of Lesbian Oral Testimony to encourage greater engagement with lesbian oral records. Each week host Callie Hitchcock will talk to a donor of the archive about one of their submissions or talk to an oral historian involved in lesbian oral testimony....