“Our Lives on the Page” Celebrates 60 Years of Lesbian Publications

Have you ever wondered what school might have been like if your history classes had been inclusive of LGBT people and culture? Some kids coming of age today may actually get to have that experience, but for most LGBT people, learning about our history is still often a challenging task.

That’s why the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives provides such an invaluable service. ONE Archives 8212 dedicated to fostering acceptance and understanding of gender and sexual diversity by "supporting education and research about our heritage and experience worldwide" and "collecting, preserving, documenting, studying, and communicating our history, our challenges, and our aspirations." — is the longest surviving LGBT organization in the United
States, and the world’s largest archive and research library dedicated to LGBT issues.

An important part of that history includes the representation of LGBT people in popular culture.

As a tribute to those representations, ONE has joined forces with LEX (the Los Angeles-based Lesbian Exploratorium) and on August 16 will unveil a new art piece, “The Lesbian Legacy Wall,” at the event "Our Lives On the Page" at the ONE Archives in Los Angeles.

The Wall is a collage of historic and diverse covers from lesbian publications around the world, spanning six decades, from 1948-2008.

Covers from the Lesbian Legacy Wall

The floor-to-ceiling installation was designed by artist Cathy Cade of San Francisco, and the the 60 covers on the wall are only a sample of the range of magazines published in those years, chosen to address many concepts and political issues, and with as much diversity as possible.

Included on The Lesbian Legacy Wall are covers from publications such as Vice Versa, The Ladder, Off Our Backs, Curve, Girlfriends, Lesbian News, Diva, Lez Voz and a screenshot from AfterEllen.com.

The Wall was over a year in the making and was inspired by an existing wall at the ONE Archives, showing covers from the historic ONE Magazine (which focused more on gay male culture). 

The idea for it came about when LEX co-founder Jeanne Córdova decided to give her private collection of papers and photos to ONE. Cordova had worked in lesbian publishing for many years (including The Lesbian Tide, 1970-81) and was inspired to propose a wall of lesbian magazines that told the story of how our publications connect us and shape our culture. 

The "Our Lives On the Page" festivities will also include a poetry performance by acclaimed lesbian author and poet Judy Grahn, and video and slides of historic lesbian events. Also in attendance will be Lisa Ben (an anagram for the word "lesbian"), the woman who anonymously created the first lesbian publication, Vice Versa, in Los Angeles in 1947.

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