Category: lgbt

APRIL 22: Amber Heard (1986-)

365daysoflesbians:

image

Picture Source x

Hey everyone, today is Amber Heard’s birthday and I’m just gonna go ahead and let you all know, after doing this little article and the research, I am absolutely, unequivocally in love with her. So let me help you get there too:

Amber Heard was born today in 1986 in Austin, Texas. Heard dropped out of high school and later got her diploma through a home-study program. Raised Catholic, after her best friend was killed in a car crash, Heard became an atheist, citing her boyfriend’s introduction to Ayn Rand is where most of her beliefs stem.  

Though Heard hasn’t had many big-name parts (she wasn’t really recognized in mainstream until 2008, after Pineapple Express and winning the 2008 Breakthrough Of the Year Award from young Hollywood Awards), she has been recognized as “very smart, very driven, and very talented” (John Carpenter), “amazing” by “annilhilating that character, in a good way” (Max Berry) and “doing everything that can possibly be done” with her characters (Roger Ebert) (x).  

Known for her roles in Friday Night Lights, Pineapple Express, and Zombieland, most of Heard’s roles are of the horror, thriller, and supernatural variety.  In 2006, Heard starred in All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, a horror film that follows a group of high school boys who invite a pretty outcast (Heard) to spend the weekend with them at a beach house, where they are all terrorized by a murderer. Other films Heard has had a role in include: The Stepfather, Paranoia, 3 Days to Kill, Machete Kills, Drive Angry, and The Adderall Diaries.

Heard came out in 2010 at GLADD’s 25th anniversary event stating:

“I don’t label myself one way or another–I have had successful relationships with men and now a woman. I love who I love; it’s the person that matters.”

Heard decided to come out publicly when she thought of her role in media and asked herself, “Am I part of the problem?” and answered with, “I think that when millions and millions of hard=working, taxpaying Americans are denied their rights and denied their equality, you ahve to ask yourself what are that factors that are an epidemic problem and that’s what this is.”

You can watch Autostraddle interview Heard, which has the above quotes, here.

Heard dated photographer, Tasya van Ree, from 2008 to 2012. In 2011, she met Johnny Depp on the set of The Rum Diary and moved in with him the next year. Both were charged with breaching biosecurity laws when they failed to report their two Yorkshire Terriers when entering Queensland for a movie Depp was in. Heard plead guilty to falsifying quarantine documents and the two charges of biosecurity were dropped, she paid a thousand dollar fine for falsifying the document, and was placed on one-month good behavior bond. Depp and Heard released a video apologizing for their crime and urging others to learn from them. The Guardian called it the “highest profile criminal quarantine case” in Australian history.

Heard filed for divorce May 23, 2016 and later filed for a restraining order against Depp. A victim of domestic verbal and physical abuse, Heard was treated like shit by the media, where many (including Depp’s lawyers) claimed Heard was making up the abuse in an attempt to get money out of Depp. Her friend, IO Tillet Wright, wrote about calling 911 after the latest incident on May 21 and neighbor, Raquel Pennington also served as a witness.

A settlement was reached August 16, 2016. Heard dropped the file for a restraining order, and dropped the charges against Depp’s friend, Doug Stanhope, for defamation and received 7 million dollars which she donated to American Civil Liberty Union and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. January 2017, their divorce was finalized.

In November 2016, along with Gabourey Sidibe and Freida Pinto, Heard read a speech by rape survivor, Emily Doe, who won Glamour’s Woman of the Year award. Heard also made a public service announcement for #GirlGaze project where she talked about domestic abuse. In December, she wrote an open letter about her experiences in Porter magazine.

Heard will play Mera, Aquaman’s wife, in DC’s Justice League and Aquaman.

You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.


Source: x    

~lex lee. 

APRIL 21: Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (19…

365daysoflesbians:

image

Picture Source x

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is a queer disabled femme of color artist and activist born today in 1975. Born  in Worchester, Massachusetts, Piepzna-Samarasinha is of Burger/Tamil Sri Lankan and Irish/Roma ascent.  

You can find out more about her early life up til a couple years ago in her memoir, Dirty River: A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way Home.  Autostraddle’s review convinced me that I needed to read it and I think you should read it too. She writes openly and honestly about abuse, running away, and survival that she turns to more than just surviving, she turns it into living.

A spoken word poet since 1998, she’s performed all over the United States and Canada. She began Browngirlworld in 2001 as a response to the racism and homophobia in both straight and queer poetry spaces. The reading series focused on queer and trans people of color and gave them space to perform their art. In 2004, she co-founded, with Gein Wong, the Asian Arts Freedom School. The next year, she travelled to the Bay Area to study with Suheir Hammad at VONA (Voices of Our Nations), which she claims was a turning point in her writing life. In 2006, she wrote and toured her own one woman show, Grown Woman Show, where she talks about her identity as a queer woman of Sri Lankan descent and the incest she survived at the hands of her mother. She also began, with Cherry Galette, Mangos With Chili, the longest running (ten years) performing arts tour for queer and trans artists of color. During this year, her first book of poetry, Consensual Genocide was published by TSAR, a small independent publishing company founded by South Asian diasporic writers in Toronto. In 2007, she moved to Oakland, CA to get her Master’s from Mills College.     

A Lambda Literary Award Finalist, Piepzna-Samarasinha has edited, written, and been included in at least thirteen different works, most notably, Bodymap: Poems,  The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities and Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements.

Also a freelance journalist, her work can be found in publications such as Bamboo Girl, Colorlines, and XTRA among others. She recently interviewed Kai Cheng Thom in Bitch Media about Thom’s new book, Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl’s Confabulous Memoir.

She currently is a lead artist at Sin Invalid and blogs. You can find out more about her upcoming events here.


Source: x

~lex lee. 

APRIL 20: Sawti (2016-)

365daysoflesbians:

Today, we’re featuring a young French organization, Sawti
(“my voice”), that was founded on December 30th, 2016. It aims to
give visibility to Mediterranean and/or Arab lesbian/bi/queer women, and is dedicated
to inclusivity, featuring cis, trans, and GNC women. Every day or so, they
showcase a new person or organization on their Instagram feed, as
well as on their Facebook page,
and they’re planning on releasing a few interviews soon, so make sure you
follow them on social media! In the meantime, here’s our interview with Eliz,
the founder of Sawti.

Can you introduce
yourselves? Who are you, how do you define yourselves?

Sawti was founded by Eliz
M.
She was then joined by Rim,
a Moroccan journalist
, and Alicia, a visual artist.
The three of us are lesbian and bi women based in Paris; we all come from
Mediterranean and/or Arab countries.

Why found Sawti? How did
you get the idea?

Sawti was the result of a long interior thought process. I’d
been feeling frustrated and misunderstood for a long time because the feminist
groups I knew about didn’t suit me, they didn’t understand my own questions and
my personal experience that’s been marked by intolerance and incomprehension.
To have to put up with your family, all the people around you, to be unable to
emancipate yourself like you’d want to – those things can happen in France, but
they happen almost systematically when you’re of Arab/Mediterranean origin or
when you’re Muslim today. The lack of visibility, the fact that I was told one
day that homosexuality didn’t exist in the East the way it did in the West
because the West was evil… – those were the things that drove me to start Sawti.
When Rim and Alicia joined me, I didn’t even have to explain the project to
them. Goes to show how our experiences are both shared and singular.

In the imagination of
the people who live all around this sea, the Mediterranean is a space of
exchanges and sharing, but also of divisions and conflicts. What does
“Mediterranean” mean for you?

The Mediterranean sea gave us Greek and Latin, math,
science, and monotheist religions. It gave us Europeans the foundational myths
of our modern societies. It has inspired the entire world. The Roman Empire and
Alexander the Great conquered Europe and the East; they’ve inspired future
emperors and despots in this world. World peace hangs by a thread, and this
thread goes all the way back to the Mediterranean. If tolerance and peace
reigned there today, can you imagine how it would resonate around the world?

According to you,
what are the challenges that Mediterranean/Arab lesbian, bi, and queer women
are currently facing?

Being a woman is difficult enough already – to have to affirm
your rights, your name, your body, you owning yourself – and on that level, all
borders are porous. Arab and Mediterranean countries are definitely not the
most sexist in the world, but they are among some of the most unstable nations.
Human rights are violated on a daily basis there, and the first targets are the
most vulnerable, among which are women. To be a woman and something else – be
it queer or a religious minority or disabled or poor – means you’re an obvious
target for the steamroller of our patriarchal, heteronormative, white
supremacist society.

Do you have projects
in parallel of Sawti?

Sawti was conceived by artists, so we all have our artistic
jobs and careers, with Sawti on the side.

What are the queer
organizations, people, or events that you’d like our readers to know about?

In France, the
Lesbotruck organization
needs your support: these young women are doing
everything to maintain the only lesbian+ truck in the Paris Gay Pride. You’ve
also got the FièrEs organization, a
feminist and lesbian organization – it’s French, but it was founded by women
who are very open, dynamic, and educated. There’s also the SHAMS organization, that’s dedicated
to the rights of LGBT+ people from the Maghreb area. More generally, give your
support to all the organizations that give a voice and visibility to those who
have neither of these things, who are erased, made invisible or transparent.

-AK

APRIL 19: Regarding Susan Sontag by Nancy Kate…

365daysoflesbians:

Three years ago marked the premiere at the Tribeca Film
Festival of a documentary called Regarding
Susan Sontag
, which retraces the life and work of the famed writer and
thinker. Regarding Susan Sontag
blends archival footage and photographs with interviews (notably with Harriet
Sohmers Zwerling and Judith Sontag Cohen), to produce a complex depiction of
Sontag. Patricia Clarkson does voiceover for quotes from Sontag’s texts. It got
funding from major cultural organizations such as the National Endowment for
the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Foundation for Jewish
Culture and the Sundance Documentary Film Program. Regarding Susan Sontag is a wonderful and layered movie that really
sheds light on the multi-faceted life of Susan Sontag, so if you’re into wlw
documentaries, definitely check it out.

Regarding Susan Sontag trailer

Regarding Susan Sontag
was directed by Nancy Kates, an independent filmmaker, producer, writer, and
consultant from the Bay Area, who’s been working all her life on projects that
center marginalized figures. She graduated with honors in 1984 from Harvard,
and attended grad school at Stanford’s film program. Her 1995 Master’s Thesis
tells the complex stories and identities of five American women who served in
the Vietnam War (including a couple who met while serving there). This was the
start in a long list of praise and awards. Aside from Regarding Susan Sontag, Kates is also well-known for her film Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin,
a documentary about the groundbreaking gay civil rights leader, which premiered
at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival. Bennett Singer co-produced this film, which
also received high praise and numerous accolades, such as the 2004 GLAAD Media
Award, best feature film at New York’s New Festival, and many audience awards
at all the major US LGBT film festivals.

Watch a Q&A with Nancy Kates about Regarding Susan Sontag right here (and you’ll find a couple more on Youtube):

Q&A with Nancy Kates at the
2014 Sheffield Doc/Fest

-AK

APRIL 18: Violette Morris (1893-1944)

365daysoflesbians:

Popularized by the novel Lovers
at the Chameleon Club, Paris
1932
by Francine Prose, famous athlete turned Nazi spy, Violette Morris, was born in
France on this day in 1893.

image

Having made her name on the race track, Violette Morris sits behind the wheel of a deconstructed race car (x).

Little is known about Violette’s early years besides the
fact that she sent to the convent L’Assomption de Huy by her parents, where she
spent the majority of her adolescence. It was at the convent where she began
her athletic training, but it wasn’t until after World War I when she began her
athletic career in earnest. Violette won fame by competing in boxing and car
racing tournaments, but she also participated in shot put, discus, football,
water polo, and many other sports events throughout her lifetime. As there were
few women’s sports teams in the 1920s, Violette shocked the French public by
often joining and beating men’s sports teams; her slogan was “Ce qu’un homme
fait, Violette peut le faire!” which translates to, “Anything men can do
Violette can do!”

In Lovers at the
Chameleon Club, Paris
1932,
Violette is portrayed through the character Louisianne Villars, a despicable
race car driving, butch dressing lesbian who becomes infatuated with Adolf
Hitler and the Nazi regime as Germany becomes increasingly closer to invading
Paris. Although on paper, Louisianne may seem like she could only exist inside
an author’s mind, she was very much a real person who lived within the
contradiction of being a lesbian Nazi and her name was Violette Morris. Throughout
her life, Violette was known to dress in suits, wear her hair short, and smoke
heavily. She was a frequent patron of Le Monocle, a popular lesbian nightclub in
Paris during the 1920s and 1930s, where she is depicted in the infamous photograph taken
by

Brassaï; however, her life of fame and partying came to an end when the Fédération
française sportive féminine (FFSF – French Women’s Athletic Federation) refused
to renew her license, thus barring her from participating in the 1928 Summer Olympics.
The FFSF claimed it was Violette’s “lack of morals,” i.e. her lesbianism, that
led them to revoke her license.

image

Violette (right) is depicted in “Lesbian Couple at Le Monocle” by the Hungarian-French photographer Brassaï (x). It was this photograph that first inspired Francine Prose to begin work on her book about Violette’s life, Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Pairs 1932, with the Chameleon Club acting as a fictional stand-in for Le Monocle. 

Nameless and destitute, Violette opened up a car parts shop
on the outskirts of Paris. It was in 1935 when she was first approached by the Sicherheitsdienst,
Hitler’s secret service, and became a member of the SS. She worked
her way up the ranks and was invited to the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin as a
personal guest of Adolf Hitler. She is partially credited with giving Germany
the plans of the Maginot Line, which eventually allowed Nazi Germany to seize the
whole of France. On April 26, 1944, Violette was ambushed by a group of French
resistance fighters while she was out driving and was executed on a country
road at the age of 51. For all her clamoring to hold onto her athletic fame, in the end, Violette’s evil deeds landed her in an unmarked, communal grave – her body
never claimed.

-LC

Feelin the Summer vibes already 😜🤘🏼

Feelin the Summer vibes already 😜🤘🏼

APRIL 17: the KG Club in New Zealand

365daysoflesbians:

On April 17, 2013, a bill to legalize same-sex marriage was
passed by the New Zealand House of Representatives; it received royal assent
two days later, and went into full effect on August 19, 2013. To celebrate
this, we’d like to tell you about the
KG Club
, a legendary lesbian social club in Auckland that was the focal
point of the lesbian scene in the 70s.

KG Club stands for either “Karangahape Road Girl’s Club” or “Kamp
Girls Club.” It was founded by Raukura Te Aroha  Hetet (nicknamed “Bubs”), in 1971. At first
the club would meet in various private homes, and then it finally moved to the
corner of Hereford
Street and Karangahape Road
(hence the name). There, it quickly acquired a
reputation for hosting loud, wild parties. The other name, “Kamp Girls Club”
comes from the word “kamp,” which was derived from an acronym (“Known As Male
Prostitute”) apparently used by Australian police to designate gay men. A bit
like the word “queer,” “kamp” was reclaimed by gay men, as well as by lesbians
in Australia and then New Zealand.

at the KG Club, by Fiona Clark

The KG Club emerged at a time when lesbian social culture
was starting to thrive in urban spaces. Since gay liberation movements were
happening worldwide, local queer communities started organizing as well,
notably through sports (like hockey or softball) – sports culture being a
perfect space where people could socialize. Late in 1971, the KG Club was thus
founded to create a kind of structure to accommodate this growing scene. At the
club, lesbians would congregate to sing, play music, dance, eat, drink in a
women-only space. It’s also worth pointing out that this club, and many along
with it, was very much steeped in native Māori and working-class cultures. The memory
of the club still survives, notably through the research of Alison J. Laurie,
who devoted her doctoral thesis on the subject, and in the works of
photographer Fiona Clark, who documented queer life and who notably took a few
photos of life at the KG Club.

at the KG Club, by Fiona Clark

If you’re interested in lesbian culture and history in New
Zealand, there’s plenty of sources and resources online, though they may not be
as visible as ones in the US or the UK. To start, give Women
Together
(1993) a read, which’ll give you a historical perspective;
look up entries for New Zealand and Māori cultures in lesbian culture
encyclopedias; and check out these
archives
as well as this
overview of the history of Pride
in the country. Also, lesbians actually
have their own museum too.
Scroll through the lesbian
site for wlw NZ
, which has got a complete list of everything
lesbian happening in NZ. And finally, read this testimony
written by Jenny Rankine
, a sixty-four-year old lesbian white New Zealander
who lived through all the changes in the LGBT community over the last decades. She
describes what lesbians specifically endured in terms of discrimination. The whole’s
pretty sobering, but it’s also a good reminder of why we continue to unearth
our history and demand visibility and justice.

-AK

APRIL 16: Lolly Willowes becomes the Book of t…

365daysoflesbians:

The U.S. Book of the Month Club is an influential company
that has singlehandedly skyrocketed novels and authors from obscurity to
historical stardom ever since its creation in 1929. The very first book of the
month, chosen on this day in 1929, was Lolly
Willowes
by Sylvia Townsend Warner. Although the book title has become
iconic, the lesbian communist author behind it has been forgotten by history…for
maybe not so suspicious reasons.

Sylvia Townsend Warner’s most widely read novel, Lolly Willowes, was first published in 1926 (x). 

Sylvia Townsend Warner was born at Harrow on the Hill,
Middlesex on December 3, 1893. Her father was a prestigious historian and she
enjoyed a happy childhood until his death in 1916. Sylvia then moved to London
to work in a munitions factory, where she would remain throughout the first
World War. While living in London, Sylvia became close friends with the “Bright
Young Things” – a group of starving artists/gay bohemians who
bopped around London throughout the 1920s. It was during this post-WWI era when
Sylvia also met the love of her life, Valentine Ackland. Sylvia was a novelist,
Valentine was a poet, and together the two were a literary power couple. In
response to the rapidly growing popularity of fascism across Europe in the
1930s, both Sylvia and Valentine became members of the Communist Party. It wasn’t
until after Valentine’s death that Sylvia would become disenchanted with the
Party. Sylvia herself died on May 1, 1978 at the age of 84.

Sylvia is seen sporting her signature look of bobbed hair and bottle-eyed glasses; the only thing missing would be a cigarette dangling from her fingers or one of her beloved cats by her side (x). 

Although Lolly Willowes
was hardly Sylvia’s first shot at writing a book (she had been writing since
she was a little girl), it was undeniably her biggest success. The book tells
the story of an unmarried middle aged woman – known as a spinster in the early
twentieth century, probably known as a lesbian in 2017 – and how she escapes to
the countryside, stops contacting her family, and starts practicing witchcraft.
For a book that was recommended by the Book of the Month Club to the entirety
of the American people, Lolly Willowes
is quite the queer satire, openly mocking gender roles and marriage mores of
the early 1900s.

-LC

‪New Vlog y’all! 💕Lina’s looking like a Cray …

‪New Vlog y’all! 💕Lina’s looking like a Cray person holdin this stick cus she way too hyped to make this ASMR video 🤣 #asmr‬

‪https://youtu.be/F625PDgWqE0‬

Samira Wiley – April 15

365daysoflesbians:

image

Picture Source: x

Samira Wiley was born today in 1987. Raised in Washington D.C., Wiley is the daughter of Christine and Dennis (pastors of Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ) and sister to Aiyana Kai Ma’at and Joshua Wiley. A graduate of Burgundy Country Day School and The Julliard School, Wiley’s first acting role was in 2011 in The Sitter. She’s appeared on Law and Order: SVU, 37, modeled for Maniac Magazine and appeared on Out, directed indie film, Rob the Mob, and voices Michonne in Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead: Michonne. Wiley is most famous for playing Poussey Washington in Netflix’s Orange is the New Black. Wiley talks here about her feelings about the most recent and controversial season and her then-girlfriend’s role in her character’s arc.    

An out (to the media) lesbian since 2014, Wiley’s parents’ church were among the few that performed same-sex marriages since 2007. Wiley married writer for Orange is the New Black, Lauren Morelli, on March 25, 2017. After Morelli discovered she was a lesbian, she left her husband, and began dating Wiley shortly after.    

LIKE COULD THEY GET ANY CUTER OMG

You can follow Samira on Twitter and Instagram.

Sources: x

~lex lee.