05/19/2012 1:00 pm
05/19/2012 2:30 pm
It's hard to imagine today what it was like for a woman to live in a time when she had never heard the word lesbian, when there were no lesbian organizations, and when she had to be careful what she wore to the bar because a woman could be arrested simply for wearing pants or the wrong shoes. These are just some of the experiences shared in Without Apology: Old Lesbian Life Stories.
Arden Eversmeyer is an 80 year old lesbian, Houston resident, and is the founder & director of the Old Lesbian Oral Herstory Project, which collects & preserves the life stories of lesbians 70 and older.
Without Apology shares the stories of 24 ordinary, yet remarkable, women.
Among them are:
• Saundra, who volunteered in rural Mississippi during the height of the Civil Rights Movement.
• Ellie, who at age 92, continues to work part-time as a substance abuse counselor.
• Joann, who raised 17 children, five her own, five adopted, and seven fostered, many of whom were mentally and physically disabled, and now, with her partner, runs a group home.
• Gloria, whose entertainment career began when she was seven and earned $5 a night dancing at clubs, went on to spend years as a “nightclub girl,” singing, dancing and doing comedy.
• Bessie, who was an incredible left-handed pitcher in the women’s fastpitch softball leagues in Texas.
• Edie, who traveled on the Peace Train from Finland to Beijing, China, to attend the Fourth International Conference on Women.
• Shaba, who journeyed through Judaism, Islam, and Kabbalah as a black-skinned woman raised in the midst of racial segregation and Jim Crow laws.
• Arden, who lived a closeted life for almost 40 years before the death of her long-term partner motivated her to begin a life of activism.
• Helen, who entered the convent when she finished high school in hopes of sublimating her love for women.
• Kittu, who was born in India and raised high in the Himalayas, became fascinated by the concept of nourishment and later went on to be an integral part of developing the Recommended Daily Allowance rating system as well as WIC, a nutrition program for women, infants and children.
• Louise and Ruth, who after falling in love in college, were forcibly separated by school authorities. They found each other again after more than 30 years, and remain together decades later.