Do you know my Femme Icon, Joan Nestle–working-class Jewish lesbian activist, writer, teacher and founder of the Lesbian Herstory Archives? If not, you should!
Below you’ll find a little about Joan’s life and work from “The Foyer,” which is the welcome page of her fantastic website, At-Home with Joan, where you can learn more about femme herstory and even read some of her wonderful essays, short stories, erotica, poems, and interviews:
Born in the Bronx, NYC in 1940 to a widowed Jewish mother, I came out as a fem in the working class bars of Greenwich Village in the late 1950s, protested the HUAC [House Un-American Activities Committee], the Vietnam War, marched against nuclear war, segregation, apartheid, US involvement in Central America, demonstrated for women’s rights including abortion and Gay Liberation. In 1973 became co-founder of the Lesbian Herstory Archives, in 1979 started writing erotic stories and in 1982 ran afoul of the anti-pornography movement, thus becoming a fervent pro-sex activist in the “Sex Wars.” In 1966 I started teaching writing in the SEEK Program at Queens College and did not stop until cancer forced me to retire in 1995.
Also check out Joan’s blog, Don’t You Ever Stop Talking. We’re all so lucky that she never has!