Windy City Media Group Frontpage News Home
CELEBRATING 29+ YEARS OF Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender NEWS

Search Gay News Articles
Advanced Search
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2015-03-25
Download Issue
  News Index   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds     AIDS @ 32       Marriage
 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

Q-YES to host panel on Latin@ issues Q-YES to host panel
on Latin@ issues
Wesley United Methodist Church of Cicero's Queer Youth Exploring Spirituality (Q-YES) group ...

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.

Veterans speak on love and secrets in military 2015-03-27
Thousand Waves marks 30 years of mission-driven work 2015-03-25
Chicago-made Huntington's doc 'Quicksand' screens April 9 2015-03-23
DOWS hosts women's dance 2015-03-23
Rivendell Theatre honors Willa Taylor, marks 20 years 2015-03-19
Chicago LGBT-rights advocate now with Human Rights Watch 2015-03-18
VIEWS Discrimination is not religious freedom 2015-03-18
Upcoming: Willa Taylor honors; GayCo event; Sculpture exhibit 2015-03-18
MUSIC Anne Steele shows listeners 'What's Mine' 2015-03-18
Former Chair Joint Chiefs of Staff Mullen to speak on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" 2015-03-18
National: Philly's celebration; guilty verdict; Utah bill 2015-03-17
Upcoming: UChicago LGBTQ; Creating Change; Latin@ week; Trans pres appointee 2015-03-17
Dining news: Women's History Month item; Pastoral event 2015-03-17
World: Lesbian tennis player; restroom situation; IKEA website 2015-03-17
Longtime political activist Jean Hardisty dies 2015-03-16
New-look Chicago Force eyes return to national championship form 2015-03-14
Out at CHM: Secret Loves: Before We Could Ask or Tell 2015-03-13
Election board decides in favor of Mell 2015-03-12
Philadelphia marks 50 years of LGBT activism 2015-03-12
Coalition report: LGBT women among most economically vulnerable 2015-03-12
VIEWS Boston's forgotten role in the women's movement 2015-03-11
Upcoming: Homestretch screening; honors to Taylor, Mirza; Human First gala; voting 2015-03-11
Entertainment: Kerry Washington; Alexander McQueen;'The Fosters'; Mario Lopez 2015-03-11
Exhibition: History of LGBTQ Life at the University of Chicago 2015-03-10
United States Artists: Illuminating value of artists for a decade 2015-03-10
International Women's Day Dance returns 2015-03-08
Windy City Gay Idol 2015 announcement 2015-03-06
PASSAGES Barbara "Robbie" Smith, services March 7 2015-03-04
MOVIES Documentary looks at women's-rights movement 2015-03-04
Local entertainment events: Homestretch; Tret Fure; Louder than a Bomb; African-American films 2015-03-04
Humorous memoir 'Butch' details pregnancy woes 2015-03-04
Latin School teacher devotes entire week to gay history 2015-03-03
Deb Mell appears to win tight race in 33rd Ward, some ballots left to count 2015-02-27
Same-sex married war veteran denied veterans benefits 2015-02-26
Milwaukee LGBT center names new executive director 2015-02-25
VIEWS A road map beyond Black History Month 2015-02-25
MARK MY WORDS Loss of a pioneer 2015-02-25
Upcoming: Willa Taylor; Knuckles movie;'Louder than a Bomb'; Armatrading; Writers 2015-02-25
Her HRC event Feb. 15 2015-02-24
Pritzker's foundation funds trans oral history project 2015-02-22





Copyright © 2015 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.

 

 

 



 

ALMA names recipients of Young Latino Leaders for Creating Change scholarship
 
NUNN ON ONE: TELEVISION Taryn Manning dishes on new music, 'Orange Is the New Black'
 
Ald. Emma Mitts videotaped making anti-LGBT comments
 
PASSAGES Carl Sharp
 
New BYC location among Howard Brown meeting announcements
 
Windy City Times Current DownloadNightspots Current DownloadQueercast Current Download
Windy City Media Group BlogsJoin Our Email List!Donate Now








  News Index   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds     AIDS @ 32       Marriage
 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     
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.