Annual Report 2023

November 2023

Dear Sisters,

I am pleased to share Sinister Wisdom’s annual report for Fiscal Year 2022–2023, beginning July 1, 2022, and ending June 30, 2023. In this report to you, our readers, donors, and members of the Sinister Wisdom community, I share some of the publishing, event, and project highlights of the past year, a summary of our financial status, and a brief peek into what Sinister Wisdom sees in our future.

From July 2022 through June 2023, Sinister Wisdom published four issues of the journal and a new Sapphic Classic. In summer 2022, Sinister Wisdom published Sinister Wisdom 125: Glorious Defiance, featuring work by disabled lesbians and edited by V. Wetlaufer. Sinister Wisdom intern Bell Pitkin provided the front cover art. Fall 2022 was Sinister Wisdom 126: Out of Control, edited by Brooke Lober and Jane Segal and featuring writing about the radical lesbian organization that did political solidarity work with women in prison. At the end of December 2022, Sinister Wisdom dropped a special additional book, the Sapphic Classic A Sturdy Yes of a People: Selected Writings by Joan Nestle. Susanna Magers edited the January 2023 issue of Sinister Wisdom, Sinister Wisdom 127: On Transfer. This issue highlighted a range of visual artists and thought about the work of transferring ideas, concepts, and values through different media. In April 2023, Sinister Wisdom published Sinister Wisdom 128: Trans/Feminism with our largest cohort of guest editors, Talia Bettcher, Marci Blackman, Claudia Sofía Garriga-López, Cecilia Gentili, Kris Grey, Shereen Inayatulla, Nadine Rodriguez, Cassidy Scanlon, Catalina Schliebener Muñoz, Red Washburn, Fitch Wilder, and Sara Youngblood Gregory. All these issues explore lesbian writing and art from a range of experiences not often centered in lesbian publications. All the issues are extraordinary and represent a powerful year of publishing.

Throughout the year, Sinister Wisdom continued its series of zoom events, celebrating issues of the journal and assembling programs that document histories of lesbian-feminist publishing.

Here are a few highlights of our event season:

In September 2022, we celebrated the life of Elana Dykewomon.

In conjunction with the publication of Sinister Wisdom 126: Out of Control, we watched a film about Bo Brown, one of the lesbians in Out of Control, and had a discussion with the filmmaker and two of Brown's comrades, Jane Segal and Zulma Oliveras-Vega.

We had an extraordinary event with Joan Nestle celebrating the publication of A Sturdy Yes of a People:

Sinister Wisdom also celebrated the publication of a new book by Irena Klepfisz, a beloved member of the Sinister Wisdom community.

Sinister Wisdom continued the series of conversations about the legacies of lesbian-feminist publishing with a panel on multicultural lesbian publishing featuring Joan Pinkvoss, ire'ne lara silva, Nancy Bereano, and Cherríe Moraga.

Our season ended with the spirited celebration of Sinister Wisdom 128: Trans/Feminisms.

All these events are archived on Sinister Wisdom’s youtube channel. A special thanks to Max Backer, who volunteers to make everything run smoothly in conjunction with our events. Thank you, Max!

As a part of our work to document the powerful legacy of lesbian-feminist print culture from which Sinister Wisdom emerged and which continues to nurture its work, Sinister Wisdom launched a project to archive and document Feminist Bookstore News. Through this project, we added scanned, digital issues of Feminist Bookstore News to a digital repository, and we initiated a database project to capture all the articles in the periodical. This project will continue and expand over the next two to three years.

This fiscal year was one of growth for Sinister Wisdom financially, growth that was crucial to keep the organization afloat at a time of extraordinary inflation with higher costs in two of our most significant expenses: postage and printing. Sinister Wisdom raised just over $135,000 during the fiscal year and spent just over $101,000. A $36,000 gift from the Estate of Elana Dykewomon provides revenue to support the organization in future years for special projects. Here is our full 2022–2023 financial statement.

Volunteers and interns are a vital part of Sinister Wisdom. Folks show up and give time, effort, thought, and attention to Sinister Wisdom to move our work forward, to nurture lesbian art, literature, and communities. Everyone is so grateful for their time in attention. Special thanks to the young womxn/folx who completed internships this year: Taylor, Kesso, Lila, Elle, Bell, Ivy, Chloe, Catherine, and Sydney. Thanks to Caitlin, who did an extraordinary creative arts non-resident fellowship with Sinister Wisdom the summer of 2022. Through the year, until June 1, 2023, Sierra provided able assistance on a range of tasks and projects at Sinister Wisdom. It was a great pleasure to work with Sierra, and I personally thank them for everything they did for the journal and the organization.

As Sinister Wisdom looks forward to our next year of work, we have the usual four issues planned—though each is extraordinary and not usual in their own way. Again, we will complement our issue publishing with the release of a special Sapphic Classic. Sinister Wisdom is looking forward to her fiftieth anniversary in 2026; we will begin celebrating that milestone in the fall of 2025 and continue the celebration through the anniversary issue in July 2026.

Support from individual lesbians makes this work possible. We could not do all that we do without subscriptions to the journal from individuals, donations to support our work, and volunteer time from a range of lesbians, including young people completing internships with the journal. Extraordinary legacy gifts from Elana Dykewomon and Susan Levinkind help provide for Sinister Wisdom’s financial future. We are so grateful that they included gifts to Sinister Wisdom in their wills.

A fantastic board of directors ably leads Sinister Wisdom. Thank you to everyone on our board for your commitment of time, energy, and resources to the organization.

Thank you to everyone who contributes in a range of ways to make Sinister Wisdom a vibrant journal—and an important and meaningful community.

In sisterhood,

Julie R. Enszer, PhD
Editor and Publisher, Sinister Wisdom

"Empowerment comes from ideas."

Gloria Anzaldúa

“And the metaphorical lenses we choose are crucial, having the power to magnify, create better focus, and correct our vision.”
― Charlene Carruthers

"Your silence will not protect you."

Audre Lorde

“It’s revolutionary to connect with love”
— Tourmaline

"Gender is the poetry each of us makes out of the language we are taught."

― Leslie Feinberg

“The problem with the use of language of Revolution without praxis is that it promises to change everything while keeping everything the same. “
— Leila Raven