Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-05-24
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  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.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Back Lot Bash's 14th year includes top women's pride talent 2017-05-26
Marga Gomez in "Latin Standards" June 2 2017-05-26
GUEST COLUMN On I Am Not Your Negro 2017-05-24
9/11 friar to be honored June 10 2017-05-24
Dignity/Chicago marks 45 years with dinner, awards ceremony 2017-05-24
Center on Halsted, museum host 'Boystown' event 2017-05-24
King to speak atNU on June 16 2017-05-24
Entertainment: Mary Lambert, Jussie Smollett, Manning CD, Harry Styles 2017-05-23
Five Worth Finding: Popcornopolis, The Baton Show Lounge and more 2017-05-23
Artemis Singers "Family of Friends" concert June 17 2017-05-23
Kate Clinton to be honored at Levity & Justice June 22 in New York 2017-05-22
Social media campaign launched supporting suspended Saucedo teacher 2017-05-20
DNC hires ex-EMILY's List head as first lesbian CEO 2017-05-17
Entertainment: Robin Roberts, Frank Ocean, Jim Parsons, Flash co-star 2017-05-16
Activists at ACT UP movie screening 2017-05-16
Internment exhibition to run in June 2017-05-16
'Out at CHM' event to explore Boystown 2017-05-16
'Lives: Visible' film screening May 13 2017-05-09
Entertainment news: House of Cards, GLAAD Awards, Richard Simmons 2017-05-09
Windy City Times publisher on list of Chicago's most powerful women in journalism 2017-05-08
"Secs and Execs" Reunites Lesbian Actress Bernhard with "Roseanne" writers James Berg and Stan Zimmerman 2017-05-08
Chicago Force steamroll over Minnesota, move to 5-0 2017-05-08
Puerto Rican Cultural Center leads LGBTQ Education Delegation to Cuba 2017-05-08
From New Town to Boystown to Lakeview program May 18 at Center on Halsted 2017-05-08
Artemis lesbian feminist chorus to mark Pride with Family of Friends 2017-05-04
'Lives: Visible' film screening May 13 2017-05-04
Workers to make history with possible nursing home strike 2017-05-03
Council on Global Affairs holds LGBT-rights conversation 2017-05-03
Mary Lambert's 'Bold' out May 5 2017-05-03
Harlem Renaissance comes to Center on Halsted 2017-05-03
MUSIC Melissa Etheridge pours heart and 'Soul' into new CD 2017-05-03
BOOKS Emily Hobson talks 'Gay and Lesbian Left' at Newberry 2017-05-03
World news: LGBT map, Marine Le Pen, Trump-Duterte 2017-05-02
National roundup: Lesbian bishop, Equality Act, 'stealthing' 2017-05-02
'Garden of Eve' raises funds for LGBTQ women's health 2017-05-01
PEACH has pop-up party kickoff 2017-04-26
Addams in LGBT Hall of Fame 2017-04-26
Twenty years at Hull-House 2017-04-26
World news: Nigerian arrests, lesbians attacked, Chechnya items 2017-04-25
Stud 4 Life marks five years 2017-04-23
 



Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our 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.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


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      Submit 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.