IT WAS NOT THAT LONG AGO
by Alma J. Aguirre
With the coming of June, innumerable Gay
and Lesbian organizations across the nation
reach one of their busiest times of the year:
preparations for Pride Week. Logos need to
be chosen, T-Shirts, buttons and flyers need to
be ordered, floats are assembled, banners are
put together, all the essential elements of a
grand celebration. We dedicate an entire
week to celebrating our victories and
pondering upon our losses. Seven days we
show to the world and to ourselves how strong
and how outspoken we have become. During
this time it is easy to get so immersed in the
spirit of Pride. It is easier still to forget those
who came before us.
I'm not talking about the veterans from the
Civil Rights movement of the 1960's. Not
that they do not deserve any credit, today I
wouldn't be writing this article for a Gay and
Lesbian paper if it weren't for them. But there
was life before the second half of the XX
Although there are a few references to
Lesbianism in ancient mythologies, concrete
proof of the existence of relationships between
women is found is diaries and personal letters
dating in this country from approximately the
XVIII century. It wasn't until the latter half of
the 1800's that relationships between women
were common enough to deserve their own
term: Boston Marriages. In most of these one
of the women was a widow (the only way a
woman could come to own property in those
days) and they would share a home to "keep
each other company."
Although it seems hard to imagine, these
women did not spend their days sitting out on
the porch, knitting and sipping lemonade.
Some of them were very much revolutionaries
for the times. There was Mary Fields, a black
woman born into slavery in 1832 who would
wear men's clothes and drive a stagecoach for
a living. Or the likes of Ralph Kerwinieo, an
American Indian woman born as Cora
Anderson. For them defying the dress code
was not a simple matter of comfort but an
incredibly brave act. Sporting items defined
as "men's clothing" was illegal. It would
remain so until the coming of World War I.
As part of their army uniforms, women were
for the first time allowed to wear dress slacks.
Partners found ways of staying together, but
these women only had each other's company.
The first hint of a community was born in the
nightlife of Harlem. Men and women alike
flocked to the safehaven the slums of New
York city provided. Amidst the sexual
revolution of the 1920's, Gays and Lesbians
saw their chance.
This was a community only in the sense that
there were a lot of people in one same place
sharing the same life experiences, it was not
organized. The first "official" Lesbian
support group would not come until 1953 with
the formation of the Daughters of Bilitis in
Life Gets Real
Ann Reed's 10th Release
When Ann Reed sings it. life gets real good
If vou have been out of touch with women's music. Ann
Reed gives plentv of reasons to get current Other than
her deep mellow voice to die for. Ann's songwnting
delights us once again beginning with the title cut.
J.cam to breathe When to vie lit
hind what can he cv cannot he healed
On the crest of the wheel
Life gets real
copyright 1995 Ann Reed all songs
"Pieces of Dreams" is a poignant love song with
haunting piano accompaniment All instrumentation is
right on target and does
not get in the way of her voice
Pieces of dreams floating into the night
Lingering long enough to
Pick up the wishes that may wish they might
. 1 piece of my dream is you
Ann memorializes her high school reunion in
I have my reservations
Why I'd come here jus! to see
. in all too human demonstration
Of who I used to he
cv if all rolls on hv It alt rolls on hv
He flow like rivers through each other
. I he ring out lives Then we all roll on by
Ann Reed gets down in the up tempo "Love Online"
w ith lots o\ foot tapping, bluesy harmonica, a song
about being sleazy
on the computer keyboard.
E mail me baby what you thinkin' of
If you ever need me it's keyword love
Download my heart give a little byte
I'm waiting for you on a dedicated line
The icing of the cake or the chocolate shavings, is "God
is Sleeping/ You've Got to be Carefully Taught".
copyright 1949 Rodgers&I Iammerstein/additional
lyric by Ann Reed copyright 1995
/ think that (rod is sleeping
Or the angels have resigned
I'm sure tlie re's no one keeping
. i peaceful, watchful eye...
You have got to be taught to hate & to fear
Day after day year after year
It's got to be drummed in your dear little ear
You have got to be taught to hate cv to fear...
You have got to be taught before it's too late
Before vou are six or seven or eight
To hate all the people your relatives hate
You have got to be carefully taught
All the songs are memorable and vou will find yourself
humming the melodies at unexpected moments. Ann's
music is available at vour local feminist bookstore.
Inklings Bookshop Sue ('ox.
San Francisco. Their male counterpart, The
Mattachine Society, had also been founded a
year earlier. Both organizations were so
closeted, however, they did not know of each
other's existence until 1954.
I will march in this year's parade just as I
have the last two years and I will enjoy both
the company and the love I have come to
know amongst our community. I will also
march for all those who came before the
thought of a parade was ever possible. I know
there is a lot left to be done, our struggles
have barely begun, and I am not sure I will
live long enough to see this community win
all its battles. But I also know that today life
for me and for my brothers and sisters is better
than it ever has been and that is only because
we were lucky and got to live in this part of
the world. There are places in the world today
where progress has yet to arrive, they are
experiencing today what we might think only
used to be.
Printed from "HI,LAS DICLN". a newsletter from
LIJ.AS. P.O. Box 681061. San Antonio. TX 78268.
Once More With Feeling. Peggy J. Herring,
Naiad Press Inc., 1995.
If you ever felt or wondered "what if..." about
that special woman you lost a long time ago, then
rush over to Textures bookstore and buy San
Antonio's Peggy J. Herring's first novel, Once
More With Feeling. Once you start reading, you
will not want to put it down. All of her characters-
Laura, Mavis, Jolly, and Wanda, to name a few-
will seem like old friends, people you have
known and partied with at the old Our Place.
Even Laura's mother, Mrs. Davenport, reminded
me of my mom with her comments about "that
woman" and "You're such a beautiful girl. You
could get a man," and the clincher, "It's your
responsibility to provide me with grandchildren!"
The story takes place in San Antonio so Peggy's
settings will seem familiar.
The main characters are Laura and Mavis.
They have just broken up after 8 years of being
together. In a conversation with her friend Jolly,
Laura says, "It's been easier to stay together.
We're comfortable with each other." "And that
doesn't count for anything?' "It's not enough.
There's gotta be something else out there for
both of us." I don't know about anyone else, but
that little exchange sure rang a bell in my mind!
The story deals with how Laura and Mavis
change after their breakup. After 4 years, anger
and rejection finally change into acceptance and
As I read, I found myself thinking about friends
from long ago and relationships that didn't grow
into what the people involved needed from each
other. I wanted to be able to talk to Laura and
Mavis and share all of the "wisdom" I have
acquired over time. The story is simple,
believable, and well-written. If you want a good
book for your next trip to the coast or for summer
vacation, and you don't mind shedding a tear
now and then as old memories conjure up, then
read Once More With Feeling.
Peggy Herring appeared at Inklings
Bookshop in April. She said her lead
character was an Olympic team swimmer,
but Naiad Press revised most of that
storyline out of Once More with Feeling.
Peggy lives in San Antonio and she
references some local color: Textures
bookstore in San Antonio and the Desert
Heart Cowgirl Club. Peggy and her lover
have been together a really long time (14
years9) and the dedication reads "If it got
any better, who would believe us."
tffie Sound of
Ji (Reading Sy 'Women 'Writers
ENCODINGS: A Feminist Literary Journal
Friday, June 9, 1995, 8:00p.m.
(BetweenJustin oZ Caroline, near HCC)
Suggested ^Donation $3-$5
♦ For information call' 529-7329 ♦