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The Disappearing L: Erasure of Lesbian Spaces and Culture

4.3  ·  Rating details ·  57 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
Investigates the rise and fall of US American lesbian cultural institutions since the 1970s.

LGBT Americans now enjoy the right to marry—but what will we remember about the vibrant cultural spaces that lesbian activists created in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s? Most are vanishing from the calendar—and from recent memory. The Disappearing L explores the rise and fall of the hugely
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Hardcover, 224 pages
Published September 2016 by SUNY Press
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Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers by Lillian FadermanBoots of Leather, Slippers of Gold by Elizabeth Lapovsky KennedySurpassing the Love of Men by Lillian FadermanThe Disappearing L by Bonnie J. MorrisTo Believe in Women by Lillian Faderman
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Ariel ✨
Feb 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is a piece of living history, representative of the current state of lesbian culture. It quotes Autostraddle, the Advocate, and a host of other blogs, indie publications, and mainstream LGBT news sites. Bonnie Morris does not paint a very hopeful picture of the future of lesbian spaces, and I can't say I disagree with her. Any attempt to make a space for lesbians, be it a blog, Facebook group, or social gathering, is viewed with extreme suspicion. I can look around and guess how we got ...more
Kitty
This book makes me feel the way Dykes to Watch Out For does - homesick. As a young lesbian who's never known any thriving real life lesbian community, I ache. This book is just what young lesbians wanting our community are hungry for. I heard Dr. Bonnie had been blacklisted from running workshops on this book. I understand why. A lesbian who knows her history and can identify how it was taken away from her (and by who) is a most undesirable thing.

If you're not a lesbian and/or identify as queer
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l.
Before you start talking about mean exclusionary terf altright lesbians, please read this.

ETA: if you call the author a terf or refer to evil terfs in your review, you've missed the point lmao
AJ
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
I think this book asks a very pertinent question: what has happened to lesbian spaces? Why are "gay" events pretty much white and male by default? Who will record the history of lesbian activism?

However I disagree with a lot of the book's thesis. Instead of blaming patriarchy, capitalism, or other kyriarchical forces which have been working against women, and certainly lesbians, since the beginning of time, Bonnie Morris takes the blame and puts it on: queers these days. (Queue the headlines: Mi
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AMdial
Jan 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, lgbtq, feminism
Read this book. It's part history, part memoir. It's a trip down memory lane while revitalizing us to remember what we are capable of doing.
KG
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As a young lesbian who never got to be a part of women's culture and mourns it every day, this book was like stepping into another time, one where people like me had community and purpose. Reading about women like me and what we are capable of was salve for my soul. I absolutely loved it. We need more books talking about the value of the lesbian experience specifically.

In the book she discusses the three pronged explanation for the degradation of lesbian spaces--financial hardship and gentrific
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riese
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I learned so much and would've given it five stars if the author could've refrained from trans misogyny, especially as blaming trans women for the various problems she identifies is just factually incorrect. I want to recommend it to everybody I know but I can't because of that, and that's too bad, because her stories these stories need to be told and heard. There isn't a ton of trans misogyny in here but any is too much in this day and age. Still glad I read it though because it definitely woke ...more
Dawn Betts-Green (Dinosaur in the Library)
DNF--The introduction and its terfy language was too much for me. It's possible that she spent the rest of the book being non-terfy, but I honestly did not want to waste my time finding out.
Bethany
Jul 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: all-lgbtqia
I read this book months ago, but didn’t get around to writing a review. Probably because I was concerned.

Reading it, I found myself coming up against the author’s attitude towards trans women. Trans women are women. But Bonnie Morris doesn't believe that. That is not the only problem I had with this book, but it was the issue the kept coming up again and again. It's incredibly irritating, because the overall topic of this book is one of interest to me. Particularly women’s music, the history of
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Ty Kuta
Jan 16, 2018 rated it liked it
I struggled with this book and how to review it. Educationally, this book was a good read. It was filled with so much good first-hand information, and was fantastic for my research. I learned a lot about many many things I did not know before. It helped give me some insight into the generational divide that plagues the community. That being said, this book sometimes relies *too* much on first hand account; I would liked to have seem more sources cited throughout the text. It seems like the book ...more
Manda Keeton
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
The Disappearing L is part memoir, part essay, and part historical account of lesbian culture and music in the 1970-1990’s. The book mainly focuses on the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival for the crux of its argument, which defends lesbian separatism as a means for cultural production, education, and social connection. There is also an entire section which deals exclusively with contributions from Jewish lesbian women.

While the book seems to waffle perpetually between primary and secondary source
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Susan
Sep 14, 2017 rated it liked it
An excellent resource book for an overview of lesbian and women's culture and how it is disappearing. As noted in the book, I feel like a Shaker, part of a tribe that I cherish, but is fading away. Unfortunately, the book is not very readable. She obviously know and loves the material and it brought back memories for me. But it lacks editing and a coherent trajectory.

Sam
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I learned so much from this book. It's part history and part memoir. It is a piece of living history, showcasing the former and current state of lesbian culture. As a young lesbian who's never known any thriving real life lesbian community, I'm left hungry for more. This really was a fascinating book.
Eileen Lynx
Aug 10, 2018 rated it liked it
An important topic.
Wrlccywrlir
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I used to identify as queer. I knew what I was; I had no doubts about my feelings, but to me, "lesbian" sounded like an insult, or something that brought to mind terrible porn for straight men. I used to think that if I could choose my orientation, I wouldn't choose this. But learning the "herstory", in this book and others, has really changed my mind and opened my eyes. I've seen how much I was wrong about and learned a lot and I'm really grateful for all the women like Morris, who put in the e ...more
Jen
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm not sure how a non-lesbian or even a non-LGBT person would read this book, but as a lesbian, particularly as a young lesbian who never experienced the lesbian activism and women's music festivals of the 1970s, I found this book a to be a very engaging and informative read. Not to mention, the writing style is excellent. I would give it five stars, but I find it a bit narrow in its scope and unfortunately at times, it can lean towards painting a negative picture of trans women and feeding int ...more
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Bonnie J. Morris earned her BA in Jewish history from American University in 1983, the first graduate to complete AU's then-new minor in Women's Studies.

After earning her Ph.D in women's history from Binghamton University (1990), she taught one of the first-ever graduate seminars on Jewish women's history at Harvard; served as global women's studies professor for the Semester At Sea program; then
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“The less that women are visible as a research subject, the less we are likely to learn about lesbians.” 6 likes
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