Lesbian Connection Fills a Void:
Back in 1974 a group of lesbians gathered in Lansing, MI to organize a Midwest Lesbian Conference. They had an artist make a beautiful poster to publicize the event, but realized there were few places to get the word out. They started brainstorming and decided to try and fill the void.
A Need for Lesbians to Connect and Share Information:
From Margy, one of the founders, “In an attempt to fill this need for a worldwide lesbian communications network, we decided to start Lesbian Connection, a free worldwide magazine for lesbians. Since none of us were writers, and we certainly didn’t represent all lesbians, we decided that LC should be written by its readers, not by us, thereby becoming the space for a wide-ranging lesbian dialogue. We thought of ourselves as the caretakers of this forum, the ones who physically put it all together, and we called ourselves the Ambitious Amazons.”
Lesbian Connection - The Beginning:
In October, 1974, they mimeographed and proudly mailed out 400 copies of the first issue of Lesbian Connection. It has been going ever since.
Lesbian Connection Paved the Way:
Before the internet or glossy lesbian magazines like Curve
, one of the main ways lesbians stayed connected was via Lesbian Connection. Each month, a new issue would arrive in the mail with announcements of festivals, conferences, concerts and support groups all over the world. People would write in asking for relationship advice, offering tidbits of information about a health concern or legal issue, looking for a room to rent or tell of a new lesbian artist they had discovered. There would be reports from the festivals and often times lesbians wrote in to complain about something or other.
Contact Dykes and Dykes to Watch Out For:
Women signed up to be “Contact Dykes,” resources for information about their region. They could make recommendations on places to stay, where to eat, socialize and meet other lesbians, for women passing through or moving to a new town. For years Lesbian Connection ran Alison Bechdel’s
Dykes to Watch Out For comic strip.
Lesbian Connection Today:
Even with the World Wide Web, Lesbian Connection is still going strong. Each month more than 25,000 copies are sent out. And best of all, it’s free to lesbians worldwide. (Although they do ask for a tax-deductible donation.) It’s evolved over the years. In the beginning Lesbian Connection was an all-volunteer effort. Lesbians held fundraisers to get enough money to put each issue out and were excited when they received a typewriter so they didn’t have to sneak into offices in the evening to type each issue out.
More About Lesbian Connection:
From Margy “The first copies of Lesbian Connection were addressed by hand. Then we tried typing the list, copying it and cutting the pages into little pieces and taping the addresses on. Luckily we soon discovered copying onto self-adhesive labels, which was a vast improvement. However, as the years passed and the mailing list grew, we had to retype the whole mailing list every few issues in order to keep it in zip code order (a postal requirement for non-profit mailings). So in 1976 we began keypunching all the addresses and using a computer at the local university to make the labels. Even with this method we still spent an incredible amount of time struggling with all the additions and address changes we get (some of you certainly do move around a lot.)”
Of course, everything is computerized now and they no longer do their own printing.
Because privacy was of utmost importance, each issue was stapled securely shut. Opening your issue of Lesbian Connection could be quite a chore! Now each issue of Lesbian Connection comes with a full color cover in a neat envelope, with a computer printed label. To protect the privacy of its contributors, Lesbian Connection is only available through the mail. But they do have a website where you can sign up for a free subscription.