"Exhibiting You" - Story

The Lesbian Experience in US History

By: Wiley, Women in US
Other authors: Paul, Chris
Submitted: 05/29/2010

We started out on this project as a way to get a better grasp on the lesbian experience in the 20th century: how people’s lives were shaped first by terrible repression, then by liberation, then by a curious kind of entry to the cultural mainstream. All the people we interviewed were in their fifties or older; the oldest, in her eighties. So while we did hear many personal accounts and snatches of life as a lesbian woman since the 40’s, and heard some of what anyone would expect (repression in the 1950’s, then a lot of activism and freedom in the 60’s and 70’s), people’s experiences could sometimes be so different that one had to wonder if they really had gone through the same process—or so similar that they seemed to have shared every moment. Here are two of the five interviews, and the profiles of the five women we talked to.
Name Age Born Came of age Came Out Activism
Jenny 84 1926 1947 1943 --
Rose 60 1949 1970 1971 1967
Bernice 60 1950 1971 1965 1967
Lucy 57 1952 1973 1972 1972
Pat 57 1953 1974 1985 1992

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