Don’t Know Much About Herstory – Yet

Welp, here we are, neck-deep in the dog days of summer. Besides scarfing down frozen treats, complaining about the heat index, and trying to decide between khaki cargo shorts or plaid shorts, my favorite summer activity is traveling.

Next Tuesday, I’ll be hopping on the early morning $5 Megabus (Lifestyles of the Underpaid and Not-Yet-Famous) from Boston to NYC. In true obsessive blogger fashion, I’ll be spending my time there researching stuff to write about. You see how much I love my readers? Even my time off is all about making you happy. I’m just a giver, is all. I just care too much.

I currently have three spots on my Big New York City (*insert Jay-Z and/or Frank Sinatra lyrics here*) Adventure checklist:

1.) The Lesbian Herstory Archives – This place has the largest collection anywhere of materials by and about lesbians. I contacted the very helpful staff ahead of time and let them know I’m coming (they probably need some time to vacuum the red carpet before they roll it out for me) and I want to see all they have about butch-femme culture. I’m not exactly sure what I’m looking for yet. I’d love to find some pictures of or personal accounts written by butches and femmes, especially from the pre-Stonewall days. Which brings me to:

2.) The Stonewall Inn – The Stonewall is pretty much the LGBT version of Mecca; every queer who can should visit it at least once in hir lifetime. This is the cradle of the gay rights movement. All the battles that we present-day queers fight started here with a bunch of brave and seriously over-this-shit gays, lesbians, bisexuals, trans folk, drag queens and kings, butches, femmes, and other rainbow-colored rebels. I also hear they make a pretty strong drink. Speaking of booze:

3.) Ginger’s Bar – What manner of witchcraft is this? A FULL-TIME LESBIAN BAR?! And I thought that those were extinct, like the dodo bird or Circuit City. I don’t know why other majorly queer U.S. cities (*cough*Boston*cough*) don’t have one of these! I shall purchase a refreshment or two to help save this endangered species.

So that’s my list thus far. Now I turn to you, dear readers, for your suggestions and requests. Where do you think I should visit on my Magical Butch-Femme Herstory Tour of the Big Apple/the City that Never Sleeps/Other Cliché Nickname for New York? Let me know in the comments and I will do my utmost to fulfill your wishes! Even if it means visiting more bars or maybe someplace where I can buy a cool T-shirt, that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. I do it all for you.


12 thoughts on “Don’t Know Much About Herstory – Yet

  1. Have you seen the movie Watermelon Woman? It includes a trip to the herstory archive and some hot pics of old-school studs from back in the day!

    Yes, it’s true, other places do have full time Lesbian bars. The small town of Fort Collins CO has a Lesbian bar! Idk what’s wrong with Boston and our tragic lack of Lesbian space. We don’t even have a bookstore anymore!

    You might want to look check out Brooklyn Boihood on Facebook & see if they have anything going on while you’re there. Their events always sound really cool!

    Safe journeys!

    • Thanks for the tip (and for reminding me about Brooklyn Boihood)! That movie sounds pretty awesome; I’ll have to check it out sometime.

      I hope they let me take pictures at the Herstory Archives, because it would be awesome to post some pics of old school butches and femmes on here.

  2. Ginger’s is pretty dead. But if you do go to Ginger’s, Original Plumbing is having a beach party Friday night down the street that’ll have a hell of a lot more queers at it. Also not that I’ve been in years but you might want to try Henrietta Hudson’s or the Cubbyhole. Oh and Riis is the queer beach if that’s your thing.

  3. I have only just recently started reading your blog. I haven’t had a chance to dig too deeply into your past entries yet, but I wanted to say how glad I am whenever I see someone in your age group who is genuinely interested in the history of our community. I have been thinking about this quite a lot lately, wondering how the queer community can better instill a sense of our history into young queers. It’s harder for us, compared with religious or racial minority groups, because queer kids don’t generally grow up in queer families and communities. So we don’t have the benefit of those structures to pass on our history. For a long time we didn’t even have the benefit of structures and institutions to collect and preserve our history. It breaks my heart to think how much has been lost to time.

    I realized recently that in a few months it will have been 25 years since I came out as a dyke, so I am going to have to start thinking of myself as not just a consumer of history but a purveyor of it too. At some point. Maybe not quite yet. Anyway, I’m looking forward to your observations about your visit to the Archives.

    • Thank you! I think it’s so important for queers of my age group – those of us lucky enough to be young during this super-exciting time for gay rights advances – to remember those who came before us and paved the way to where we are today. I’m hoping to learn a lot about the butches and femmes of days gone by.

      Would you perhaps have any interest in guest blogging for Buzz Cuts and Bustiers? It would be awesome to see the story/viewpoint of an older butch. I’m sure you have some great stories to tell!

      • Yeah I would definitely be interested in doing something. Thank you for the offer. I’m following you on Twitter now so you can private message me there if you want.

  4. I love Gingers! I was there for lesbian karaoke on Thurs. I don’t think it’s dead at all, but they have a pretty tight knit community of regulars there.

    Cubby Hole is also a full time dyke bar and is really awesome & laid back. I’m going out with some girls to Henriettas this Thursday, so it’s going to be a party. 🙂
    I don’t know where to go to find a good butch/femme dynamic. It’s all kind of a mixed bag in my experience.

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