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I remember a long time ago when the Logo channel was a thing, I caught a documentary about the lesbian community back in the day. It had wonderful interviews with older lesbians, describing life as it used to be.
I remember being amazed by one woman's story about the park where the LGB people used to hang out. They'd have picnics and socialize there, and gay bashers would come by and start trouble. When that happened, the butch lesbians would get together and protect everyone. The gay men never fought, it was always the lesbians.
I always love hearing little pieces of forgotten lesbian accomplishment, like Stormé DeLarverie starting the Stonewall rebellion, or lesbians caring for gay men during the AIDs crisis.
Society gives us so little to hold onto and feel good about as L+B women, these histories are precious gems for me.

So my question is, does anyone have any resources where lesbians, particularly butch lesbians, were defending gay men and other lesbians? Usually it's just a footnote, stated as common knowledge that "butch lesbians were the protectors of the gay community." But can anyone link to specific examples or anecdotes?
In retrospect maybe my memory of butches defending gay men in the park wasn't from a documentary, it might have been an anecdote I read in Female Masculinity by Judith Halberstam.
But I also seem to remember a moment in that same documentary where a Judy Grahn poem is quoted:

foam on the rim of the glass
another wave breaking

foam on the rim of the glass
another wave breaking
she once wanted to be a sailor

now she sits at the bar, drinking
like a sailor

I remember a long time ago when the Logo channel was a thing, I caught a documentary about the lesbian community back in the day. It had wonderful interviews with older lesbians, describing life as it used to be. I remember being amazed by one woman's story about the park where the LGB people used to hang out. They'd have picnics and socialize there, and gay bashers would come by and start trouble. When that happened, the butch lesbians would get together and protect everyone. The gay men never fought, it was always the lesbians. I always love hearing little pieces of forgotten lesbian accomplishment, like Stormé DeLarverie starting the Stonewall rebellion, or lesbians caring for gay men during the AIDs crisis. Society gives us so little to hold onto and feel good about as L+B women, these histories are precious gems for me. So my question is, does anyone have any resources where lesbians, particularly butch lesbians, were defending gay men and other lesbians? Usually it's just a footnote, stated as common knowledge that "butch lesbians were the protectors of the gay community." But can anyone link to specific examples or anecdotes? In retrospect maybe my memory of butches defending gay men in the park wasn't from a documentary, it might have been an anecdote I read in Female Masculinity by Judith Halberstam. But I also seem to remember a moment in that same documentary where a Judy Grahn poem is quoted: foam on the rim of the glass another wave breaking foam on the rim of the glass another wave breaking she once wanted to be a sailor now she sits at the bar, drinking like a sailor

4 comments

books like the persistent desire: a butch-femme reader and boots of leather, slippers of gold have many first person accounts of the times including the protective ferocity of butches.

I don’t have any sources for this, sorry, I just wanted to say that I love love love Judy Grahn!

Me too, the documentary was my introduction to her. She's brilliant.

I found the documentary by the way! But it didn't have the anecdote about lesbians protecting gay men in parks, just the poem.
But it's still great, it's a documentary called Last Call at Maud's, about the longest-lived lesbian bar closing.