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Persistence and Existence: LGBTQ History at Mount Holyoke College

Ciao, babes! The Lesbian Bisexual Alliance Newsletter and Updates

Due to a unanimous vote taken at an internalized homophobia workshop held November 10th, 1988, the Lesbian Alliance was renamed the Lesbian Bisexual Alliance (LBA). The LBA put out a newsletter in 1988 that included information about activities and workshops they held, as well as the community's response to them. For example, the newsletter discussed a dance the LBA hosted where one woman left because she felt alienated by "lesbian cliques." The author of the newsletter said, "We are already fucked over by heterosexist society, why do we fuck each other over?" in regards to exclusion within the community. 

The newsletter also mentioned the formation of a "friends of lesbians, gays and bisexuals" group, tentatively named BLAB (for Buddies of Lesbians and Bisexuals). This ally group had its first organizational meeting November 30th, 1988. The meeting was advertised with posters saying the following: "How can 'straights' work with LBA for the benefit of all campus women? Come share ideas." Renamed FLAB (Friends of Lesbians and Bisexuals,) the group helped monetarily sponsor an Awareness week with the LBA in April of 1989.

The LBA distributed a questionaire that spring that asked how well they met the needs of the bisexual community on campus. One person scrawled a note in the corner that said, "lesbian/gay pride cannot exist without bi liberation!"

 

LGBTQ Item 11

A schedule for the twentieth anniversary celebration of the Lesbian Bisexual Alliance, late March 1996 [Click on the photograph to see the full listing of events]

The LBA engaged in an ongoing effort with the College Health Center to make sure safer sex materials were available for use. In the spring of 1989, the LBA requested the Health Center stock dental dams. They responded that they do not give out any types of “safe sex” items, but attached a brief article about how to use a dental dam.

In an October newsletter from 1989, the LBA writes about the Health Center's treatment of lesbian and bisexual women:

 "According to the Health Centre, we are an expendable community that does not need to practice safe sex. This is why they do not have or give out dental dams and finger cots. They do not cater to our special health needs either. Please call up the Health Centre... hopefully, when a lot of people keep calling, they'll get flustered and may realize that we are a community on campus after all, and that we are not expendable."

 

LGBTQ Item 02

Note detailing the Lesbian-Bisexual Alliance’s request for dental dams to be available at the Mount Holyoke College Health Center, May 25, 1989 [Click on photograph to read more]