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Guide to the Lesbian Avengers (San Francisco Chapter) Records, 1993-1997
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Historical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Related Collections
  • Materials Separated from the Collection
  • Materials Removed from the Collection

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Lesbian Avengers (San Francisco Chapter) Records,
    Date (inclusive): 1993-1997
    Accession number: 1996-10
    Creator: San Francisco Lesbian Avengers
    Extent: 1 linear foot
    Repository: The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society.
    San Francisco, California.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    The Records (96-10) were donated to GLHS in 1996 and 1997.


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright to unpublished manuscript materials has been transferred to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society.

    Audio-Visual Materials

    The Records contain many photographs.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Lesbian Avengers (San Francisco Chapter) Records, 1996-10, The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society.

    Historical Note

    The San Francisco Lesbian Avengers engaged in direct-action politics throughout the San Francisco Bay Area between 1993 and 1997 to promote visibility of queer women and to fight the rise of the Christian right. Founded in New York in 1992, the Lesbian Avengers were noted for their bold, theatrical style and their use of humor to capture media attention.
    The San Francisco chapter of the Lesbian Avengers was convened to organize San Francisco's first Dyke March in June 1993. The group's subsequent actions targeted misogyny among gay men in the Castro; government inattention to lesbians with AIDS; the Christian "ex-gay" organization Exodus International; harassment of lesbians in the military; and a variety of other issues. The San Francisco chapter was known for working on such non-lesbian-specific issues as immigrant rights and police accountability, as well as for being the first Lesbian Avengers chapter to incorporate bisexual and transgendered women into its mission statement. The controversy over the latter decision is documented in meeting minutes, correspondence, and press clippings.
    The bulk of the San Francisco Lesbian Avengers' records were donated to GLHS in 1996, during a period of relative inactivity. The group subsequently dissolved in 1997, at which time the remaining records were donated.

    Scope and Content

    The papers (1 linear foot) document the group from its founding in 1993 through mid-1997. The Records are composed of 3 series (internal records, literature, and photographs), and are organized chronologically within each series.
    Box 1 contains internal records. These are primarily minutes from meetings, but they also include agendas, training materials, group policies and guidelines, notes on tactics, logos, correspondence, and communiques. Meeting minutes dated after 1995 are all handwritten and consist mostly of fragmentary notes, often on the backs of flyers announcing community events. Earlier minutes are more detailed and often typed. Typically, minutes include a treasurer's report, a summary of the past week's events, actions and ideas, committee reports, announcements and proposals. These document the group's evolving structure and process, the controversy over its mission statement, and internal discussions about race and class.
    Box 2 contains literature from other organizations and other Lesbian Avengers chapters, as well as information about most of the San Francisco chapter's public actions-announcements about events, leaflets, press releases and media reports.
    Box 3 contains the Lesbian Avengers' photograph collection. The photographs are from 1993 through 1995. They are all color, 4"x6" and 3.5"x5" positive images, and portray several Lesbian Avengers events and actions, especially the 1993 and 1994 San Francisco Pride Marches, the 1993 political funeral for Joan Baker, "Come Out for the Holidays" (1993), and "Castro on the Rag" (1994).
    The Records also include one oversized folder and two legal-sized folders.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms


    Related Collections

    Lesbian Agenda For Action Records, 92-8

    Other Contemporary Direct Action Groups

    AIDS/ARC Vigil Records, 91-5
    AIDS/ARC Vigil II Records, 94-21
    Meg Barnett Papers [Lesbians Against Police Violence], 89-5
    Boy with Arms Akimbo/Girl with Arms Akimbo Records, 96-41
    Forget-Me-Nots Records, 89-10
    Queer Nation Records, 93-2

    ACT-UP related collections

    Ephemera files on ACT-UP
    Arawn Eibhlyn Papers, 95-23
    Stephen Fish Papers, 91-19
    Sheldon Ramsdell, 96-28
    Bob Smith Papers, 93-21
    Hank Wilson Papers, 96-2

    Materials Separated from the Collection

    Photographs (Box 3) are located in the Photo Room.
    Oversized Folder located in Mss. Manuscript Collections Oversized Box C.
    2 Legal Sized Folders located in Mss. Manuscript Collections Legal Sized Folders.

    Materials Removed from the Collection

    Articles from various newspapers around the U.S. pertaining to gay and lesbian youth were removed. Complete issues of The Progressive, the Klanwatch Intelligence Report,and the Southern Poverty Law Center Reportwere removed. A complete inventory of materials removed is available in the accession folder.