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 2017-03-22
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

PASSAGES Feminist writer, activist Jeanne Cordova dies
by Gretchen Rachel Hammond
2016-01-11

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Pioneer feminist, activist, journalist, publisher and LGBT media figure Jeanne Cordova passed away Jan. 10 at the age of 67.

According to Frontiers Media, Cordova died peacefully at her Los Angeles home in the early hours of the morning. Her spouse Lynn Ballen and friends were at her side.

"I have always been fascinated by how a noisy swelling called a social movement arrives on the doorstep of an individual's life and how she responds to it," Cordova began in her 2011 memoir of love and revolution When We Were Outlaws. "Most ignore the calling of the unfathomable energies of our times. For the rest of us—how does one recognize a social movement when it comes calling at your door? And what greatness or despair might follow should you open the door and invite it into your life?"

Cordova's life served as the quintessential answer to that question—one seeded from the moment she joined the Immaculate Heart of Mary order of nuns immediately out of high school and was inspired by the social justice work of the Sisters to become a community organizer and activist for the lesbian and gay communities.

As others were protesting the war in Vietnam, Cordova was already thinking ahead to the next great civil rights frontier.

"I realized that one day, the lesbian and gay struggle, as we called it then, had to grow into a mass movement," Cordova told journalist contributor Sarah Toce in Gay Press, Gay Power. "I wondered if we ever would or could become as big as this anti-war movement."

It could well be argued that Cordova's founding of the national newsmagazine The Lesbian Tide was fundamental to the realization of that prediction. According to her biography it gave "voice to the new generation of lesbian feminists."

One of those voices belonged to current distinguished visiting writer at Mills College Achy Obejas, who met Cordova in Southern California in 1981.

"I was familiar with The Lesbian Tide and I called them up and volunteered to work for them," Obejas told Windy City Times. "I showed up one weekend afternoon and helped layout the paper. They made a part of the staff and then I wrote for them for years. Jeanne was an extraordinary person. She was very smart about people, organizing and about lesbians. She really got how to move people and how to move things along. She was always more fired up than anybody else in the room and had more endurance for the work that needed to be done."

That work involved becoming the human rights editor of The Los Angeles Free Press, the presidency of the Stonewall Democratic Club, the "accidental" but galvanizing invention of Southern California's Gay and Lesbian Community Yellow Pages and a statewide campaign Destination New York—as Cordova put it "part of a national gay and lesbian effort to seat a record number of queers as official delegates in the 1980 Democratic National Kennedy Carter Convention in New York."

Cordova's published works include The New Age Telephone Book, Square Peg Magazine and books Sexism; It's a Nasty Affair and Kicking the Habit.

"Hidden in the 'ism' of each generation is the seed of the next revolt," Cordova wrote. "So activists beware—understanding what happened yesterday will show you what you can make happen tomorrow."

"One of the really great things about Jeanne was that she did not consider herself indispensable," Obejas said. "I think that's a real mark of visionary maturity. One of the things she was always doing was bringing people up. In the process of bringing into activism and into community and the institutions that she founded she was inevitably displaced by younger people—ironically almost by design. It's part of her generosity that she knew when to move on to the next thing that she did. She knew when to go to the next place. A lot of people have founders syndrome—you found something then you can't let go of it but she was very good about giving people opportunities, training them, giving them the skills and helping them shape a vision and a mindset."

On Sept. 30, 2015, Cordova published a column in Windy City Times in which she confirmed rumors that she had brain cancer.

Yet she was still teaching the generations who would inevitably follow her work.

"You gave me a life's cause," she wrote." It is wonderful to have had a life's cause: freedom and dignity for lesbians. I believe that's what lesbian feminism is really about, sharing. We built a movement by telling each other our lives and thoughts about the way life should be. We cut against the grain and re-thought almost everything. With just enough left undone for our daughters to re-invent themselves. Death should be a part of life. Not hidden, not a secret, something we never said out loud."

In that column, Cordova pledged to "fulfill an early personal vow to give back half of my estate to our movement. I do this with Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice ( out of New York City ) and other organizations. I believe it so critical to our transforming movements to leave our estates to our LBGTQ charities, not some errant heterosexual relation we hardly know!"

"Even in death, she is going to continue to bring people up and help people find their way in the world of activism and organizing—all the things she did, cared about so deeply and into which she recruited so many people," Obejas said. "She had such faith in the essential goodness of the lesbian nation ( to use one of her phrases ). She believed in her blood that all kinds of love was the pinnacle of existence. She was faithful to the idea that lesbians are a very special tribe."

"A constant beacon in my life has been the reimaging of myself, or an entire generation of teens, growing up in a queer affirming world," Cordova wrote in When We Were Outlaws.

Her life gave stride to the LGBT community in the creation of that world. It will echo into each of the countless numbers to come who, like Cordova, will change history for the better.

For more information about the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, visit AstraeaFoundation.org .


facebook twitter pin it 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

Gay News

Shore running for re-election 2017-03-26 - Debra Shore—a two-term member of the Board of Commissioners of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago ( MWRD )—announced her intention ...


Gay News

Debra Shore of Metropolitan Water Reclamation District to run for re-election 2017-03-23 - Debra Shore, a two-term member of the Board of Commissioners of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago ( MWRD ) today ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Remembering Fernando Ponce Jr. 2017-03-22 - When Kathy Kelly first met Fernando Ponce Jr.—or "Junior," as his family and friends called him—he had just walked into her home "decked ...


Gay News

Party Noire events all about female Black joy 2017-03-22 - Chicagoans can dance it out when Party Noire plays Black joy on repeat. Party Noire is a dance party that began as an ...


Gay News

Entertainment: Billie Jean King, 'Outpost,' John Barrowman, RuPaul 2017-03-21 - Forty-two years after co-founding World Team Tennis ( WTT ), Billie Jean King announced she will step away as the majority owner of ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Touche bartender Alan H. Portnoff 2017-03-19 - Longtime Touché bartender Alan H Portnoff passed away on Friday, March 10th after a prolonged battle following heart surgery. He was 66. ...


Gay News

PASSAGES: LGBT ally Cepek dies at age 69 2017-03-15 - John Cepek—an LGBT ally ( through the group PFLAG, formerly known as Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays ) who suffered ...


Gay News

'Indivisible' event calls for action on state, federal levels 2017-03-15 - Even though it was the second strategy meeting to combat the Trump agenda held in Evanston in as many weeks, an audience packed ...


Gay News

Cecilia Horan talks about new judicial role 2017-03-15 - Cecilia Horan, who was appointed in January to be an at-large Cook County Circuit Court judge, said she had been trying to "put ...


Gay News

SPRING THEATER PREVIEW Classics, revivals offer breath of fresh air 2017-03-15 - It might not all be jam and sunshine yet, but after the ominous rumblings of 2016, anything not heralding apocalypse is enough to ...


 



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
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      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.