Free Marissa Now!

This press release is from Sinister Wisdom Contributor, Cathy Marston:

On Tuesday, January 27, 2015, a coalition of San Antonio groups and activists, including Free Battered Texas Women, will have a 5 p.m. press conference and 6:30 p.m. protest at the Bexar County Courthouse in solidarity with nationwide efforts to support pardoning African-American, battering-survivor Marissa Alexander, M.B.A.
Alexander’s ex-husband violated a protective order to break into her house and trapped, strangled, and beat her. She was weak from having giving birth 9 days before, yet escaped into the garage, where her door opener failed. She grabbed her gun, which she had a concealed-carry permit for, and went back in to fire a warning shot into the ceiling.
The police inexplicably arrested Alexander instead of her batterer; and she was convicted on a charge of aggravated assault, even though the shot did not hit him. She was sentenced to 20 years.
Alexander's conviction was overturned in 2013. At that time, her prosecutor, Angela Corey, vowed to retry Alexander and get her sentenced to three, consecutive sentences for 60 years! Despite national outrage, Corey was not stopped. The federal government did not step in. In November 2014, Alexander pled out to three, trumped-up felony charges; and the judge sentenced her to three years in prison. As Alexander had already served 1,030 days on the first case, she will be released 1/27/15. Alexander is being denied the protection of the very “Stand Your Ground” laws that the notorious George Zimmerman used to successful acquit himself in his shooting death of black, male, teenager Trayvon Martin.
The fact that Alexander is being denied her right to self-defense reveals the interlock of sexism and racism in our criminal justice system. Canadian feminist criminologist Laureen Snider and American, feminist criminologist Meda Chesney-Lind look at data from the 1983-2003 timeframe and find the total number of incarcerated males increased 303 percent from 1980-99, it increased 576 percent for females. They also find that between 1986 and 1991, African-American women’s incarceration rates for drug offences rose by 828 percent, that of Hispanic women by 328 percent, that of white women by 241 percent.
Texas police uniquely arrest battered women instead of their male batterers at least 20 percent of the time on a domestic-violence call, according to the Texas Council on Family Violence. TCFV adds that this misogynist atrocity only happens 20 percent of the time in other states. This is partly due to bias in interpreting our state’s self-defense waiver, which is codified in TEXAS PENAL CODE, SUBCHAPTER C, SECT. 9.31.
While California has recently passed a “Sin by Silence” bill and New York is readying to pass a “Domestic Violence Justice Act,” Texas has not had legislation on this issue since 1991. The 72nd Legislature passed Senate Combined Resolution 26, which mandated that the Board of Pardons and Paroles review women’s cases on first-degree felonies related to domestic violence for pardons. The women recommended for pardons by TCFV were denied them by the BPP; and this lonely provision has been forgotten.
Since Free Battered Texas Women began keeping statistics in 2005, women convicted of domestic-violence-related felonies report: 74% defended themselves; 16 % defended a third party (child or grandchild); and 10% did both.

This is a public-safety emergency! Remember SELF-DEFENSE IS A RIGHT! BATTERING IS A CRIME!

Contact Information:
Cathy Marston, PhD
Director, Free Battered Texas Women
P.O. Box 47
Schertz, TX 78154

Attachment: FBTW Fact Sheet

Note to Editors: This release was prepared with information from the following sources:
Frumlin, Aliyah. (2014). Melissa Alexander accepts plea deal. Retrieved from: Nov. 24.
Law, Victoria. (2013). Trapped in the dark: Marissa Alexander and how our twisted legal system re-victimizes domestic-violence survivors. Retrieved from
Marston, Cathy. (2014a). Defending our right to self-defense to counter the normalization of violence. La Voz de Esperanza, 27(8), 3-4, 6.
(2014b). Domestic violence awareness – Newsworthy or not? La Voz de Esperanza, 27(10), 7.
(2014c). Texas Families for Justice rally. La Voz de Esperanza, 27(10), 12.
(2011). Stopping the real ‘cycle of violence’: Patriarchal battering and the criminalization of women by American police. Journal of Prisoners on Prisons, 20(1), 72-78, 82-83.
(2010). Stopping Texas’s war on women. La Voz de Esperanza, 23(1), 7-9.
Slater, Anne. (2012). Growing campaign to free abuse survivor Marissa Alexander turns outrage into action. Freedom Socialist, 35(1), 6.
Snider, Laureen. (2003). Constituting the punishable woman: Atavistic man incarcerates postmodern woman. British Journal of Criminology, 43(2), 354-378.
Torres, Annaliza. (2014). Marissa Alexander out of jail but not free. Freedom Socialist, 35(1), 6.

Support OLOC!

Dear OLOC Sisters: December 2014

In the 1970s and 1980s I worked with others to produce some of our early lesbian concerts as well as the large San Francisco Pride Stage. Since then the occasions we get to feel that fabulous lesbian feminist energy seem to have dwindled...except when going to OLOC gatherings!

It’s thrilling to have an organization dedicated to Old Lesbians!! Here’s a list of why I give to OLOC.

Hopefully you share these sentiments:

-OLOC is committed to creating space for Lesbians

- OLOC has an amazing website with all sorts of practical and fun information, including contacts and resource lists. Check it out at:

-OLOC has fabulous regional networks with meetings and social gatherings

OLOC produces fantastic National Gatherings that are wild and wonderful and energizing and inclusive and deep

· OLOC is committed to creating space for Lesbians (did I say that already? It certainly bears repeating) and also challenging and opposing ageism, racism, classism, sexism, and ableism; standing in solidarity with allies for racial, economic, and social justice

At our age we know who supports these types of activities – only we do! So please open your hearts and minds and your checkbooks/credit cards and contribute to this amazing, one-of-a-kind Lesbian organization. And then tell all your friends to do it too!!

You can also donate via, click the “donate” button.

Sisterhood is powerful!!

Diane Sabin, San Francisco, CA born 1952

Suggested donations are $1000.00, $500.00, $100.00, $75.00, $50.00, $25.00 and Other

Note that your donation will all be placed in the general fund unless you specify some of it for financial assistance. Financial assistance contributions will go to help economically distressed Old Lesbians attend the 2016 National Gathering in Atlanta, Georgia.

To use a PayPal account or a credit card through PayPal, go to and click the donate button on the bottom left. On the bottom left of the PayPal opening page is the credit card information.

To send a check or money order, mail to:
PO Box 5853
Athens OH 45701

Whatever method you use, please mark in the "purpose" section of PayPal or somewhere on a check that it is for the December fundraiser. If you and a partner are contributing together, include her name, too.

Thank you so much.


OLOC Conference--Annual Gathering

A Big Thank You to Alix Dobkin

"Strong Enough to Bend"
Both Susan( Susan Wiseheart) and I read, loved, and strongly recommend this amazing memoir from OLOC member Judith Witherow. Contact her publisher, Twin Spirits Publishing, P.O. Box 1353, Clinton, MD 20735, ask your library to order it, or check on Amazon.
Big thank you's to Alix Dobkin and Susan Wiseheart for their great mention of my book "Strong Enough To Bend" at the OLOC Conference in CA. Please consider buying a copy as a holiday gift or to read yourself.
Many Thanks, Judith

Black Lesbian DIY Fest 2014 on October 18, 2014 from 11am-6pm

Black Lesbian DIY Fest 2014 aims to offer black lesbians and allies with materials and content on or ​about black lesbians an opportunity to sell zines, chapbooks, posters, art, pamphlets, small press books or any other forms of handmade or DIY print based items. It’s also an opportunity to build community inside an institution that strives to keep alive the memories of our ancestors, our herstory, and to bring together lesbians from across communities and worlds.

The DIY Fest will feature:
Vending of print based materials such as zines, small press books, chapbooks, posters by or about self-identified black lesbians.
Various workshops and skill shares.
A raffle with prizes from participating authors, artists, and sponsors.
Tour of the Archives.

Information about Black Lesbian DIY Fest 2014 can be found in the press release attached and here:

Facebook event page:

For more information about the Lesbian Herstory Archives 40th Anniversary celebration, go to:


More photos of Joan Nestle, Sinister Wisdom 94 co-editor, in Slovenia

More photos from our sister/comrade Lepa of Joan Nestle's visit to Slovenia.


Sinister Wisdom 94 Co-Editor Joan Nestle in Ljubljana, Slovenia

While Joan Nestle usually lives near Melbourne, Australia, this fall she is circling the globe. Contributor to Sinister Wisdom 94: Lesbians and Exile, Lepa Mladjenović sent us these photos from Joan's recent visit to Ljubljana, Slovenia.


BOLDFest Annual Gathering

Greetings from Vancouver BC to lesbians everywhere!

3 more weeks until the 10th Annual Gathering of BOLD, Old(er), Lesbians & Dykes. We're converging on Vancouver's Gay Village from across Canada, the US and even Australia!

Little did we know BOLDFest would still be going 10 years later!

BOLDFest's theme this year is: "50 Years of Lesbian Lives & Culture" and we're excited about the lineup of presenters and performers who'll definitely live up to this theme! You'll find more details on .

Meantime, here's a sampling of what BOLDFestees will enjoy:

Cris Williamson in concert - Sunday night September 7
Cris was with us the 1st year of BOLDFest, 10 years ago!

"Restrospective of MichFest" with Lyn Davis, Victoria, longtime volunteer and festee-goer at MichFest. Lyn will share stories and memories of this amazing annual land-based lesbian village and community, created and built by women, for the many thousands of women who have been returning for many years to their/our "Lesbian Nation". MichFest is an integral part of our herstory, whether or not you've ever attended. This workshop will run two times, on Friday and Saturday Sept 5, 6.

BOLD Woman of the Year Award will be accepted at the Friday Luncheon by Margy Lesher, co-founder of the the Lesbian Connection, the longest running international lesbian publication and another long-term stronghold and support for lesbians.

Film Showing of "Desert Hearts". This classic lesbian film based on Jane Rule's novel, will be shown, followed by a discussion facilitated by Joan Coldwell of Hedgerow Press, Vancouver Island, publisher of some of Jane Rule's works. Hedgerow Press is sponsoring this event.

Following the discussion we'll move into a "Retro Night" of music, dress, and entertainment including recreating a dyke bar from years past.

Plus, Intro to Dragonboating, "Remarkable Women of Stanley Park" walking tour, dynamic workshops...and much more!

If you want to spend a weekend in total lesbian culture, BOLDFest is it! It's being held at the Coast Plaza Hotel, a gay/dog friendly hotel, situated in the heart of the Gay Village, 3 blocks from the beach, and very near to Stanley Park.

Come a day early, Wed Sept 3, and join us on the popular Harbour Boat Cruise for an evening of spectacular scenery, apppetizers, music, dancing, cash bar, women!! This is an "extra activity". See attached reg. form.

"See you in September"


Pat Hogan, Claire Robson
BOLDFest Coordinators

Just announced:
the Coast Plaza Hotel has just extended their cut-off date to August 20 to reserve a hotel room at our special BOLD rate! If you want to get a hotel room there, now's the time to do it. You'll find info on page 3 of attached registration form. If you'd like to find someone to share a room with please email We'll do what we can to put you in touch with others seeking roommates. Need a subsidy to attend. Ask us!

Special Gift with Sinister Wisdom 93

Every subscriber to Sinister Wisdom will receive with Sinister Wisdom 93: Southern Lesbian-Feminist Herstory 1968-1994 a free bookmark. Be on the look out for it in your mailing. Use it while you read Sinister Wisdom--and any other book. We'll keep your place!

Want a few extra to share with friends? The first three are free with postage of a single forever stamp. Send a stamped, self-addressed envelop to Julie R. Enszer, PhD, Editor, Sinister Wisdom, 6910 Wells Parkway, University Park, MD 20782. You can also order bookmarks through PayPal; ten bookmarks for $2. Remit payment to wisdomsinister at yahoo dot com.


Old Lesbians Organizing for Change: National Gathering and Awards Announced!

LESBIAN ACTIVISM CHANGING THE WORLD: Old Lesbians Organizing for Change

25th Anniversary Celebration at our National Gathering July 23 – 27, 2014

Oakland California Marriott Hotel & Convention Center



OLOC is delighted to announce that the Del Martin Old Lesbian Pride Award will be presented at this year’s 25th Anniversary Celebration to TWO deserving Old Lesbians, Arden Eversmeyer of Houston Texas, and Joan Emerson of the OLOC Bay Area Chapter. The recipients will each receive $500. The Awards presentation will be held at the Gathering's Opening Night on July 23rd, after greetings from local officials and hosts.

ARDEN, a committed member, served as OLOC’s Co-Director of OLOC from 1997 to 2004 as well as serving on its Steering Committee for 14 years. She founded The Old Lesbian Oral Herstory Project, (OLOHP) in 1997, collecting stories of Lesbian friends who were ill and dying in the Houston Texas area where she lives. Now, she and others continue to collect the life stories of Lesbians 70 and older wherever they are and whenever they are willing to share them, with OLOC’s support and help. Arden co-edited two collections of OLOHP stories. A Gift of Age: Old Lesbian Life Stories and Without Apology: Old Lesbian Life Stories can be ordered at"

JOAN taught sociology at Carleton College where she also wrote articles that became classics. She left her academic career to train as a psychotherapist, working with children. Joan attended the OLOC National Gathering in Minneapolis in 1996 at age 61. Arriving “to explore the lesbian world”, 24 hours later she enthusiastically joined the Old Lesbian community and for 18 years - 1996-2013 - she worked in revitalizing and coordinating OLOC’s San Francisco chapter. Joan says: “Old age has been the best time of my life”.

This award solicits nominees worldwide and nominations include a description of the outstanding accomplishments of the nominee who must be alive and over the age of 70, and whose life and/or work has impacted the lives of Old Lesbians.

This is the third award to be given. The first was in 2010 at the National Gathering in Cleveland to activists Carmah Lawler and Kathy Glass. In 2012 the award went to Joy Griffith, long-time organizer of the annual Golden Threads Gathering in Provincetown MA.


Old Lesbians Organizing for Change

Oakland California Marriott Hotel & Convention Center

This is a call to Old Lesbians in their 60th year or more to join hundreds of our peers at OLOC’s Biennial National Gathering -- 5 days of workshops panels, caucuses, entertainment and socializing with some events welcoming women of all ages!

To date a diverse lineup of award-winning presenters and performers have been confirmed…with more to come!

· Dorothy Allison, Poet, Storyteller, Feminist

· Cherrie Moraga, http://www.cherriemoraga.comPlaywright, Essayist, Activist Educator

· Chrystos., Writer, Land and Treaty Native American Rights Activist

Carolyn Gage’s riveting Lesbian Tent Revival, an Author's night, the Del Martin Old Lesbian Pride Award, and a dance with the Bay Area Women's Liberation Boogie Band add to the impressive list of events and celebrations scheduled throughout the Gathering.

An Intensive will trace the roots of feminism and envision our next steps through stories and feminist political analysis.

For and by Lesbians, OLOC works to empower and improve our lives with a support network consisting of a quarterly newsletter, regular e-news, more than a dozen chapters, and OLOC Gatherings both Regional and National. Using education and public discourse, we confront ageism, sexism, racism, classism, and we work for justice.

For more Information, please go to our website:, email, or call 888 706-7506


Subscribe to Sinister Wisdom RSS

"Empowerment comes from ideas."

Gloria Anzaldúa

"Your silence will not protect you."

Audre Lorde

"Live your lives, honorably and with dignity."

Andrea Dworkin