The book is a collection of all of Jean's non-fiction essays, articles, letters and reports over a period of over thirty years and gives some idea of the issues and campaigns radical lesbian feminists were involved in between the 1970s to the present day as we fought with our radical feminist and socialist feminist sisters in the Women’s Liberation Movement to overthrow the patriarchy and challenge capitalism.
Most of these short pieces were included in the well-known Victorian feminist and lesbian periodicals of the day: Melbourne Women’s Liberation Newsletter, 1972 - 1984, Lesbian Newsletter, 1976 - 1983, Lesbian News, 1983 - 1990, Lesbian Network, 1984 - 2006, Victorian Women’s Liberation Newsletter, 1986 - 1994, Labrys, 1990 - 1992, Lesbiana, 1992 - 2004, and Dykonoclast, 2005 - 2006. And also includes bits and pieces from Rabelais, Lilac, Women’s Circus Newsletter, Mother Earth, SAFE, Lesbians On the Loose, Melbourne Star Observer, Brother Sister, BNews, Melbourne Community Voice and Coalition of Activist Lesbians Newsletter.
Just to give you a brief example of the kinds of articles that are included in the book the following is a brief extract from 1985:
Lesbian Network 5 Spring Equinox September 1985
Networking Along the Lesbian Way
Just a few comments about this Lesbian Network that is being developed around Australia. Having just been travelling up the east coast, primarily to distribute books but also to write, have a holiday and make contact with other dykes along the way, I want to say how very impressed I’ve been by the generous hospitality and friendliness I’ve encountered. Without exception every lesbian I’ve met, every lesbian household I’ve stayed in has shown a warmth and closeness that has been remarkable and much appreciated.
It was something, after a hard day of travelling, arriving in a strange town at sunset, to ring up and be greeted by a friendly voice, ‘come on out, you’re just in time for dinner, of course you can stay here,’ or variations along this same general theme. There have been gaps along the way of course, we haven’t quite managed to get lesbian contacts every couple of hundred miles or so, in which case I just found a quiet spot to camp in the van for the night. And looked forward to the next major town, where I could find familiar conversation and laughter.
Now back in print!
BRAZEN HUSSIES: A Herstory of Radical Activism in the Women’s Libration Movement in Victoria 1970 - 1979, Jean Taylor, Dyke Books Inc, Melbourne 2009)
Brazen Hussies documents the actions, conferences, collectives, publications and demos as well as the stories of feminist activists who took an active role in the WLM in the 1970s. The book also traces the innovative shifts of consciousness and the social and legislative changes that were instigated in Victoria as radical feminists fought long and hard for Women’s Liberation. It also includes some of the actions the Aboriginal and Islander people too to challenge racism.
It’s sometimes difficult to remember just how oppressive it was for womyn in Victoria before the Women’s Liberation Movement began in 1970 to challenge the patriarchy and womyn took to the streets to make our demands heard.
‘When I became a trained therapy radiographer at Peter Mac, back in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, I was training boys who were receiving more money than I was which seemed very iniquitous.’
Radical activists in the Women’s Liberation Movement began making their presence felt world-wide and no less so than here in Victoria. After Thelma Solomon, Zelda D’Aprana and Alva Geikie chained themselves to the Arbitration Court in October 1969 they helped set up the Women’s Action Committee in March 1970. From then on there was an active WLM here in Victoria. And for good reason.
‘The Australian theatre scene has been dominated by male playwrights and it has been difficult for Australian women playwrights to have their works performed.’
Ponch Hawkes, Women’s Liberation Newsletter April 1975.
As it took till October 2008 to repeal the law against abortion and the Yorta Yorta people were only allowed joint management over their own Barmah Forest in December 2008 it shows just how long it takes and how far we still have to go to truly achieve humanity and justice for everyone.
Please note that price includes cost of postage.
LESBIANS IGNITE!: In Victoria In The 1990s, Jean Taylor, Dyke Books Inc, Melbourne 2016 878 pages
This book documents the activities of lesbian and feminist activists in the 1990s in much the same way as Brazen Hussies and Stroppy Dykes did for the 1970s and 1980s respectively. And will be launched in Melbourne the first half of 2016.
"I’d arrived in Melbourne in time for the second season of The Womens Circus - “Women and Work” 1992 - directed by Donna Jackson. A magical swirling of bold costumes and striking faces in the famous white swimming caps. Grotesquely lit abseilers and acrobats on the factory walls outside. Such skill and daring and drama! So inspired was I that I joined the circus myself in 1994 on the techie crew for “Death: The Musical”. Big butch dykes taught me knots and fire drills and how to wire a lamp. Rehearsals were a dream because the musicians rehearsed simultaneously, and it was all very loud and brash and companionable. We were even given dinner first."
Sarah Yeomans - Melbourne: A Cornucopia of Lesbian Delights
Like the first two books, Brazen Hussies and Stroppy Dykes, the third book of the trilogy, Lesbians Ignite! covers as many of the actions, conferences, marches, publications, musical and theatrical events that went on during the 1990s in Victoria and elsewhere as it was possible to fit into a book this size.
Dyke Books Inc is a not-for-profit, lesbian feminist publishing venture which was established in 2008 with the aim of publishing writing by, for and about lesbians.
Front cover photo by Meg Irwin
Please note that price includes cost of postage.