Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold: The History of a Lesbian Community
When most lesbians had to hide, how did they find one another? Were the bars of the 1940s and 1950s more fun than the bars today? Did Black and white lesbians socialize together? Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold is a ground-breaking account of the growth of the lesbian community in Buffalo, New York from the mid-1930s to the early 1960s Drawing on oral histories collected from 45 women, it is the first comprehensive history of a working-class lesbian community. These poignant and complex stories provide a new look at Black and white working-class lesbians as powerful agents of historical change. Their creativity and resilience under oppressive circumstances constructed a better life for all lesbians and expanded possibilities for all women. Based on 13 years of research, Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold ranges over topics including sex, relationships, coming out, butch-fem roles, motherhood, aging, racism, work, oppression, and pride. Kennedy and Davis provide a unique insider's perspective on butch-fem culture and trace the roots of gay and lesbian liberation to the determined resistance of working-class lesbians. The book begins by focusing on the growth and development of community, culture, and consciousness in the bars and open house parties of the 1930s, '40s, and '50s. It goes on to explore the code of personal behavior and social imperative in butch-fem culture, centering on dress, mannerisms, and gendered sexuality. Finally the book examines serial monogamy, the social forces which shaped love and break-ups, and the changing nature and content of lesbian identity. Capturing the full complexity of lesbian culture, this outstanding book includes extensive quotes fromnarrators that make every topic a living document, a composite picture of the lives of real people fighting for respect and for a place that would be safe for their love.