I’m a proud member of the LGBT community. I believe strongly in equality and civil rights and liberties. I understand that the past is a different place, yet I’m constantly frustrated at the lack of historical records of lesbian and bisexual women. I know that, historically, women have been invisible, in part due to the fact that men were the ones writing women out of history.
The lack of record keeping by women or about women, particularly those that were part of the hidden queer community, makes writing a ‘herstory’ of LB women particularly difficult. If you take into account white privilege, or class privilege, you can see another hole opening up in which non-white, or working-class LB women are even less visible.
Then there’s the issue of trans* invisibility. Even in contemporary society, members of the trans* community are ostracised more than cis-gendered members of the queer community, sometimes even by member of the queer community. Historically, and up to the present, members of the queer community have crossed gender lines. The difficulty is in separating those who defined themselves as trans* and those who were cross-dressing. Certainly there were, and are, LB women who enjoy challenging gender norms. So how do we differentiate between the two when history has failed to consciously document either?
I’m not an historian by any stretch of the imagination, but I have decided, from this point forth, to attempt to pull together all the research that has been done so far to document the lives of queer women in the past.
Here’s a great post from Autostraddle to start this off: