Femme Friday – Sinister Wisdom: A Multicultural Lesbian Literary & Art Journal

On the cover of her card celebrating Sinister Wisdom’s 42nd birthday, Anne-Lise Emig describes the journal as providing: diversity and courage, levity, graciousness and strength, lesbianism, wisdom and sanctuary. Since 1976, Sinister Wisdom has been our rock and our heartbeat. The latest issue, #110, is edited by Cheryl Clarke, Morgan Gwenwald, Stevie Jones, and Red Washburn. The topic is “Dump Trump: Legacies of Resistance.”

Bless you, Sinister Wisdom, for Joan Nestle’s “Lesbian Polemics, Without Apology,” where she loves, encourages, and accompanies us in our resistance: “A profound polemics never to be ashamed for its insistences. I am never just a Jew anymore, I am an ‘anti-Occupation Jew.’ I am not just a lesbian anymore, I am an ‘anti-Trump lesbian.’ Once ‘lesbian’ was a modifier, now it needs to be modified while our resistance to the growing power of oligarchs must never be. This resistance must be constant, driven as much by the promise of our past knowledges as by our wise despairs. Sappho, a throwaway moment in lesbian history so often, refused even the poetic meters of the warmongering classes. Refusing to sing of ‘arms and the Man,’ of the heavily soldiered ships in the harbors, she created lines where women’s bodies embraced, strong in their declaration of desire and wise in their comfort with ironic refusals. Oh how persistent her fragmented voice, her condemned voice, her banned voice, has proved. Lesbian polemics, the imaginative body speaking to the unjust State, the deviant turned ‘refusnik,’ calling out the doggerel of Trump nationalisms.”

Bless you, Sinister Wisdom for Teresa Hommel’s incredible article about the dangers of electronic voting, “Democracy or Trump: Our Choices Now.”

Bless you, Sinister Wisdom, for the transcript of a Queer Conversation with Morgan M. Page and Sarah Schulman about the suicide of Bryn Kelly, a friend of both of them, where they discuss “conflict, care, and community.” Sarah says, “I do not view Bryn’s death as a failure of our community, but rather as a wound on our loving, caring yet fragile community assaulted regularly by a punitive and indifferent system. We must stop destroying ourselves, while letting the institutions that are hurting us, stand, unopposed. In this case, our love could not overwhelm that institutional cruelty and abandonment. But that does not diminish how much we all give each other, and the beauty and the power and the wealth of how much we all love and care. We have to stay alive, and fight like hell for the living.” And Morgan: “And, for us, Bryn’s whole life wasn’t just being trans. She was a very active member of the queer fun community in Brooklyn. She was – even though she did not identify as a lesbian – very active in the lesbian community. In fact, she once judged lesbian fiction at the Lambda Literary Awards, and she posted about it on her blog. She was like, ‘my favorite activity is judging lesbians’ [laughter]. And so, to me, I think sometimes we fall down a bit of a rabbit hole where we think that only a person who is exactly like this person can talk about this person and I think that doesn’t talk about the truth of who that person’s community was. You know, it doesn’t talk about the many different communities that person can be part of.”

Bless you, Sinister Wisdom, for all these and more. For being there for us for all these years.

Every Friday, I showcase a queer femme goddess. I want to feature you! Write to me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com and let me shine a spotlight on your beautiful, unique, femme story! New Femme Friday feature for fall 2018: Books from which queer femmes can draw inspiration. What are your trusted sources of light and love? Please share!

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”)