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Lesbians in the City

While Landdykes’ issue (Sinister Wisdom 98: Landykes of the South) focused on the lived experiences of lesbians in rural communities, what are the lived experiences of lesbians in the city. Where do the lesbians in the city come from if and when not from the city? What propels them to move into the city? What propels you to stay in the city? What, for some of you, inspires you to leave?
This special issue is focusing on how lesbians live in the city, whether they live in the city by themselves or within intention community. We are specifically interested in lesbians who write, draw, take photos of the transition into the city as it documents how the move into the city changes their lives. We are also interested in the lesbians who have never left the city; who help make the city a haven for the lesbians who move into the city from non-cities. And what about the lesbians who write about why despite the parades and the marches and the organizations, the city was not all it was for everyone who moved there, who stayed there? In revisiting this call, initially published in 2017, I encourage lesbians and women loving womyn from cities like Las Vegas, Phoenix, AZ, Miami, and Atlanta to contribute. Priority will be given to works that are neither racist, ableist, or otherwise objectifying underdeveloped characters and/or dehumanizing womyn. Given recent events, content warning of violence against womyn would be preferred.
While the visibility in the city sparks our interest, so too does the"disappearing dyke spaces," stories. Pulling from the Vice documentary called The Last Lesbian Bars, it's on Vice, which addresses the lack of physical spaces for lesbians to come together, how are those that built them coping? How are millennials are adapting to their absence? What are they/we using to socialize, mobilize and meeting one another? Let us know!
In sharing your stories, your photos, your drawings, your interviews, your poems, tell us how the city changed what being a lesbian means to you. I will privilege integral representations of racially, ably, and other marginalized members of the lesbian community. I also encourage individuals who have had lesbian relationships but no longer or have never identified as a lesbian to contribute, considering Sinister Wisdom’s widening scope of audience members and contributors. Let us know if and how “the city” allows you to be a bigger, badder, lesbian. Let us know if being a lesbian was not enough when you arrived and when you settled into the city. Show us the pictures of your ‘lesbian city;’ tell the story of what a ‘lesbian city,’ would, could or should look like. Tell us why, tell us how, tell us when. Whether you’re 19 or 91, what are the lesbians in the city like? what is your lesbian experience in the city like? How did transitions in ethnic, racial, class, gender diversity change your individual and collective understanding of lesbianism? What are the negotiations you make to be a lesbian in the city you were born, in the city where you ‘came out,’ in the city where you landed?
We look forward to diversifying the face and body of lesbians riding on trains, biking on the road and moving into skyscrapers. Scrape the sky of our imagination with your creation.

All offerings of work for this issue should be made by May 31, 2019. The anticipated publication date is January 2020.

Guest Editors:

Erika Gisela Abad was born and raised in Chicago, though she’s lived in Portland, OR, Las Vegas, NV and visited NYC, Cleveland, OH, and Seattle, WA throughout her academic and political career. She will be presenting “Who will read, write or buy our happy endings,” at Clexacon and in 2016, she presented on LGBT Rican issues in Chicago at summits hosted by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies. She has supported Sinister Wisdom reviewing issues such as Landdykes, and What can I ask. She’s been published in Sinister Wisdom’s Out Latina Lesbians in 2015, among other venues such as BlazeVox, Mujeres de Maiz Identity Blinging, Black Girl Dangerous. She was a frequent performer of Portland, OR’s Dirty Queer between 2011 and 2016. She’s also been a feature for Chicago’s Surviving the Mic and for Rape Victim Advocate’s 2016 open mic. An essayist, fiction writer and scholar, she blogs at erikagabad.wordpress.com. You can follow her on Twitter @lionwanderer531. She teaches in the Interdisciplinary, Gender and Ethnic Studies Department at University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Claudia Rodríguez, is a writer/performer from Compton. She is the author of “Everybody’s Bread,” her first published collection of s poems (Korima Press 2015). Her work has appeared in Coiled Serpent: Poets Arising from the Cultural Quakes & Shifts in Los Angeles: An Anthology. Tia Chucha Press. 2016, Mexican American Baseball in the Pomona Valley, Baby Remember My Name: An Anthology of New Queer Girl Writing. Edited by Michelle Tea, Chicana/Latina Studies: the journal of MALCS Fall 2004 Issue. Claudia received a COLA Fellow Award from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs in 2015 and a Resident Artist Award in 2014 also from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. Her interests are in developing community-based art. Oral history, queer publications, youth-oriented poetry workshops, and theater are some of the genres she’s worked with over the last nineteen years. As co-founder of Butchlalis de Panochtitlan (BdP), a performance ensemble, she authored and performed sketches addressing the intersectionality of gender, immigration status, race and class and issues such as gentrification, intimate partner violence, addiction and interracial desire.

More about Claudia Rodriguez, MFA at http://rodriguezwriter.blogspot.com

Yovani Flores was raised in Chicago’s Humboldt Park community, spent childhood summers in Puerto Rico, and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Her stories are swathed in diaspora roots, memory keeping and imaginations of a young queer girl. Flores’ debut Short Story, El Lloron was featured on NPR’s Three Minute Fiction Contest, won a second place writing Prize from Curbside Splendor Publishing, and published in The Journal of Latina/Chicana Studies. Her work appears in Acentos Review, Drunken Boat, Latino Perspectives Magazine, Repeating Islands, Esta Vida Boricua: Universidad de Puerto Rico, Mayaguez. Centro Voces: Center for Puerto Rican Studies CUNY, La Repuesta, Contributor at La Tolteca Zine, and Guest Editor at 5Q: Five Quarterly Magazine.
Chair, AJAAS: Association de Jotería, Arts, Activism and Scholarship.
Co-Founder, Producing Director of Mujeres del Sol.
Co-Founder, Las Pilonas Productions, supporting actor in Thresholds, an Award Winning short film by Las Pilonas Productions, Directed by Linda Garcia Merchant, Co-Producers, Writers Yovani Flores, Evon Flores Barrera, Linda Garcia Merchant.

"Empowerment comes from ideas."

Gloria Anzaldúa

"Your silence will not protect you."

Audre Lorde

"Live your lives, honorably and with dignity."

Andrea Dworkin