|H o m o c o m|
Inspiring baby dykes, activists, and anybody who's ever dreamed of saving the world.
In 1992, six lesbians went to New York City's gay pride march and handed out flyers reading "LESBIANS! DYKES! GAY WOMEN!... We're wasting our lives being careful. Imagine what your life could be. Aren't you ready to make it happen?"
Two years later the fire-eating Lesbian Avengers had already mobilized twenty thousand dykes for a march on Washington. More than fifty chapters spanned the globe. And periodicals from the New York Times to Newsweek had taken note.
They were more than a fad, but a force to be reckoned with. Dedicated to lesbian visibility, this media-savvy, direct action group took on gay-bashings and murders, held homophobes accountable, helped thwart antigay legislation in Colorado and Idaho, and redefined dykes as the coolest, most ferocious, girls on the block.
The website is the heart of the documentary project. We'll be adding regularly to the histories, timelines, and collection of primary source material including digitized flyers annotated with the designer's own comments, press releases, photos, and news clippings. Soon we'll be posting segments of video interviews from our oral history project.
Articles analyze everything from the role of direct action in social change to the importance of art and artists in the Avengers. We present the conclusions of the Lesbian Avenger Civil Rights Organizing Project about how "de-gayed" campaigns reinforce homophobia.
Activist resources are an essential feature of the site. We plan to post free downloadable e-book versions of the Lesbian Avenger Organizing Handbook and LACROP's Out Against the Right giving step-by-step instructions on planning direct actions and organizing effective grassroots campaigns.
Lesbian Avenger Oral History Project (video)
In their own words, former Avengers will describe why they joined, what they did, and how it all worked, from getting press coverage for actions to the intricacies of running a kissing booth.
Segments of the video interviews will be posted online, and a complete transcription of each interview will be deposited coast-to-coast in archives including the Lesbian Herstory Archive in New York City, the Schlesinger Library at Harvard, and the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives in Los Angeles.
In the Works
We're planning a re-release of the 1994 documentary video, Lesbian Avengers Eat Fire, Too, edited by Janet Baus and Su Friedrich. Adding captions, subtitles, and extras, this extraordinary resource captures the spirit of the group.
A mini-festival and traveling exhibits are on the drawing board for 2012 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Lesbian Avengers' founding, share the project, and inspire discussions about activism, including the role of direct action, and the importance of media.
Kelly Cogswell is an independent journalist, and video journalist specializing in politics and culture. Her videos have appeared in the websites of the International Herald Tribune, and the Louisville Courier Journal, among other venues. She's been recognized by the New York Press Association for her coverage of health issues as well as her column in New York's Gay City News.
A longtime lesbian activist, she worked briefly with the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization in New York before becoming a founding member of the Lesbian Avengers in 1992. She later co-founded and edited The Gully online magazine (2000-2006), offering queer views on everything along with activist resources. She is a co-founder and president of Homocom.
CLAGS (The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at the City University of New York) recently awarded her a Joan Heller-Diane Bernard fellowship for the Lesbian Avenger Documentary Project.