Queer Women to Watch: Spring 2009

Elisha Lim, comic

Elisha Lim draws a comic series titled "100
Butches." Just think of the possibilities!

"My friend Ido used to talk about his crowd of Berlin friends as a
‘bunch of handsome butches,’ and it made me proud," Lim said of the
inspiration for the series. "Then, when I lived in London, and I was feeling totally broke and
hopeless, I noticed that Diva Magazine was looking for lesbian comic artists.
So one day on the bus to my Spitalfields waitress job, I took out my notepad
and started sketching ideas for a butch catalogue."

Lim’s comics (which she prefers to refer to as "decorated
stories"), aren’t actually all that butch. In fact, they’re much more
openly queer oriented, and do not discriminate against any kind of femmes or
other identities.

"Maybe it fits better to say that this is about
snapshot moments, rather than about identities. Maybe it could be called ’100
Butch Moments, If You’ve Ever Had One of Those,’" she jokes. "I would
describe them as 100 illustrated portraits that capture everything that I find
attractive, important or poignant about my queer community."

Artwork credit: Elisha Lim

Lim, who had no previous instruction in drawing before she
began creating the series, says she hopes to be doing something meaningful with
her art and accompanying texts.

"I try to illustrate the queer environments I’ve met,
with the touching similarities from Singapore
to Palestine to Berlin," Lim said. "People who
fight sexism, kyriarchy, xenophobia, occupation, and who bravely empathize
against all forms of oppression."

Lim does this not only with "100 Butches," but in
her latest project, Lesbian Blues, which is a performance troupe of 12
entertainers of nationalities.

"We create giant variety shows to combat those
stereotypes," Lim said. "We’ve sung blues songs like Bessie Jackson’s
‘Bull-Dyke Women’s Blues,’ shown footage of Elvis’ uncredited songwriter,
mega-butch Big Mama Thornton, and we’ve talked about the original black and
brown patrons who weren’t photographed during the Stonewall riots. It’s a
thrilling way to mend our woefully tattered common queer history, and reinstate
queers of color who are alienated from the visible Western queer rights

Lesbian Blues performs regularly in Canada, and hopes to
eventually tour in the United
. Until then, we’ll have "100
Butches" to keep up with.

"Some of my friends say my stories are the best, some
say they are grossly embellished," Lim said of her work. "Either way,
I would say I have a happy vernacular background in storytelling."

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