Windy City Media Group Frontpage News Home
CELEBRATING 28+ YEARS OF Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender NEWS

Search Gay News Articles
Advanced Search
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2014-10-29
Download Issue
  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime

Apple CEO Tim Cook officially comes out Apple CEO Tim Cook officially comes out
Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly confirmed he is gay in an opinion ...

Browse Gay News Index   Browse Gay News Archives
  Windy City Times

Historians talk Southern lesbians and respectability
AHA CONFERENCE Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times
2012-01-18

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


The debate about whether LGBT people should aim to be seen as "respectable" by mainstream society may seem like a new quarrel between older and younger generations but, according to historians, the fight is decades old.

The strategy of "respectability" has a deep history among Southern lesbians in particular, as they struggled to establish ways to live without interference from mainstream society. Historians tackled the topic at a recent panel at the American Historical Association Conference Jan. 5.

"The politics of respectability reconsidered" panel featured a conversation between historians on how southern lesbians have teetered the line of social acceptance in striving to be respected despite anti-gay bias.

Megan Shockley of Clemson University discussed lesbian motherhood in the South; Janet Allured of McNeese Sate University talked about fashion in feminist movements; and La Shonda Mims of the University of Georgia discussed lesbian bars in Atlanta.

The women in all three areas were often forced to choose between social acceptance and social change, said historians.

The contrast may have been especially sharp for feminists in the 1970s as moderate and radical feminists sparred on whether or not women should dress in traditionally feminine clothing in order to make other gains in society.

"For activists seeking respectability, it mattered immensely," said Allured. Many feminists dressed in traditionally-accepted women's clothing, while more radical feminists often wore pants. The contrast in fashion paralleled conflicting strategies in the push for women's rights.

However, race issues at the time often complicated the choice for lesbians to "be respectable." According to Mims, Atlanta's bar scene followed this trend, with lesbian bars that served racially-diverse crowds being viewed by White straight people as less respectable than mostly-White bars. White lesbians often followed suit, Mims said.

"For white lesbians, a nice place to go often meant a white place to go," Mims said.

In this way, the panel said, the idea of choosing to be "respectable" in order to make gains as a lesbian was often a flawed strategy.

Also, choosing to appear respectable may have had other consequences, said Shockley. When lesbian moms fought to keep their children by distancing themselves from gay-rights struggles, they may have inadvertently positioned gay rights as the opposite of respectable, contributing to anti-gay bias.

However, said Allured, those who chose "respectability" as a tactic often made gains in mainstream society not always achieved by more radical lesbians and feminists.

The bottom line, said speakers, is that the choice for Southern lesbians was never simple. Still, said historian Carolyn Herbst Lewis, the women in each instance shared a desire for respect.

"Whether they showed it or not, these women demanded to be treated as equal citizens," Lewis said.


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.

BETTY returns for holiday show 2014-10-29
'Out' lesbian Moms Mabley was comedic pioneer 2014-10-29
LBTQ Giving Council creates video for fundraising campaign 2014-10-29
Uncovering alleged LGBT connections in JFK assassination 2014-10-29
Melissa Etheridge: On marriage, performing 2014-10-29
Sports notes: Visits, honors, bullying 2014-10-29
LGBT HISTORY MONTH: A pre-Stonewall LGBT sit-in 2014-10-28
Women honored at Center on Halsted event 2014-10-26
Lesbian veteran to be buried with late wife in Idaho cemetery 2014-10-22
Alison Bechdel: Artist, genius and instigator of change 2014-10-22
OPALGA's 25th- anniv. gala Oct. 25 2014-10-22
Upcoming events in film, music, poetry 2014-10-22
Cumberbatch on OUT cover; lesbian pundit canned 2014-10-21
Jennifer Knapp: Lesbian releases album, book with sense of self 2014-10-21
'By Women for Women' Oct. 25 at Joffrey Tower 2014-10-21
Legacy Project concludes dedication at Sidetrack 2014-10-20
LGBT HISTORY MONTH Oscar Wilde in Chicago 2014-10-15
PRIDE Institute paved way for LGBT substance-abuse treatment 2014-10-14
LGBT HISTORY MONTH Tenderloin's LGBT story survives 2014-10-14
Legacy Walk plaques unveiled with new inductees 2014-10-13
Sami Grisafe inducted into school's hall of fame 2014-10-13
Eileen Myles: Queer, funny, feminist stand-up and poetry 2014-10-12
Women & Children First street dedication 2014-10-11
Legacy Walk plaques going up this week 2014-10-10
Vives Q features Norma Seledon 2014-10-09
Robert Patrick: One of oldest gay playwrights on theater history 2014-10-08
LGBT HISTORY MONTH Oscar Wilde in Chicago 2014-10-08
Legacy Project to add seven plaques to outdoor museum 2014-10-08
NUNN ON ONE: MUSIC Mary Lambert tells her 'Secrets' 2014-10-08
LGBT athletes: making an impact on and off the field 2014-10-08
Revisiting annual reminders, nearly 50 years later 2014-10-07
Victor Salvo talks about salvaging history in a 'Fireside Chat' 2014-10-07
Focused Media launches with celebration of The Gay Agenda 2014-10-07
Foster-to-adoption success story spans two generations 2014-10-07
Denmark's anniversary; Judas Priest's gay situation 2014-10-07
National Center for Lesbian Rights benefit in Chicago Oct. 18 2014-10-07
She100 gives back to the queer community through grants 2014-10-06
Lesbian couple sues area clinic after sperm mix-up 2014-10-06
Jane Saks expands social-justice brand with Project& 2014-10-01
Forward-toward male volunteer Lenny Earl: fests, transition 2014-10-01





Copyright © 2014 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
the online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 



 

PASSAGES Former Chicagoan Steven Moore dies
 
Strict ID laws could hinder trans voters
 
Neil Patrick news; 'Freeheld' has problem; 'Divas Simply Singing'
 
Music, radio are David Polk's passion, profession
 
Egalite Chicago forum on LGBT activism post marriage equality
 
Windy City Times Current DownloadNightspots Current DownloadQueercast Current Download
Windy City Media Group BlogsJoin Our Email List!Donate Now








  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video      News Videos      Nightspots Videos      Entertainment Videos      Queercast Videos      Comedy Videos     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.