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Different Daughters: A History of the Daughters of Bilitis and the Rise of the Lesbian Rights Movement Hardcover – September 21, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The Daughters of Bilitis (DOB) may be little known today, but Gallo makes clear how crucial this organization was to the nascent lesbian rights movement. Beginning as a tiny San Francisco social club in 1955, the group soon organized local chapters in New York, Los Angeles and beyond, incubating many figures on the lesbian political and literary scene until the organization waned in the 1970s. In this easy, well-ordered read, Gallo draws on many interviews with pivotal DOB figures, focusing less on juicy gossip than the tensions that drove the group's evolution: lesbian commonality versus race, class and ethnic differences; political activism versus social activities; collaboration with other homophile organizations versus independence; women's rights versus gay rights. Gallo gives considerable space to the history of The Ladder, which began as a mimeographed newsletter and soon became a lively, highly literate forum for lesbians nationally and even internationally. She evokes the tense atmosphere of DOB's beginnings, when being out was nearly synonymous with being outcast, while highlighting the several black leaders of the group and how DOB found allies in San Francisco's religious community. This is a respectful, respectable look at an organization overdue for recognition. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Despite continuing intense racial segregation in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the groundbreaking lesbian organization the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB) provided opportunities for women to work together and socialize without color bars and with less of the armor of conformity outside the home that the concurrent cold war climate of fear mandated. Against a repressive backdrop of homophobic bar raids, arrests, and firings, the initially secret society of northern California lesbians was founded in 1955 as a social club that in 1956 produced the nation's first lesbian newsletter,The Ladder. So doing, DOB made an all-important outreach that broke through fear and isolation to affirm lesbians throughout America, albeit via protective pseudonyms. DOB and The Ladder also spread through word of mouth, expanding for 20 years into a national sociopolitical effort with regional chapters that paved the way for the lesbian rights movement and helped change history. Gallo's engrossing, detailed history is an essential addition to the popular literature of sociopolitical issues, women's studies, and gay-lesbian history. Whitney Scott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Seal Press; 1st edition (September 21, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786716347
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786716340
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #899,755 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Suzan Cooke on June 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Different Daughters is an important addition the library of anyone interested in the development of the lesbian and gay rights movement in the United States.

It covers the often neglected early days of the Lesbian Movement in the pre-Stonewall era from its humble birth in San Francisco and Los Angeles through its development into a broad based movement in the 1970s.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. Brink VINE VOICE on October 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book on the Daughter's of Bilitis is well written and well researched. I was so happy to see it. I believe this was the first Lesbian Organization and it was quite active and successful even though it was founded in the 50's! It is a rare more intimate look into lesbian history in America. These women were amazingly brave and courageous even printing a newsletter (The Ladder) in a time when you could still be arrested for being a lesbian even in San Francisco- where it all began.
For a very different part of lesbian history I would recommend the book "Boots of Leather Slippers of Gold" by Kennedy and Davis. This is about more working class lesbians in Buffalo.
Very interesting read. Angela Brinskele, Director of Communications, The Mazer Lesbian Archives
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A&M Books on May 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Marcia Gallo's look at early lesbian rights pioneers is exceptional and it contains information we need to know and hand down to "our" younger generations. The book is fascinating and important.
Fay Jacobs
Author of For Frying Out Loud - Rehoboth Beach Diaries
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mmainhood on May 20, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had to read it for a class I was taking, but decided to go ahead and buy it too. And what can I say but that it was amazing. It gave me a very good basic overview of the history of lesbianism, specifically through the fifties to the seventies to now, and if you want a good history of the Daughters of Bilitis, this is the book for you.
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1 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Cihuacoatl on December 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A look at one of the first lesbian organizations in America. Yowza Beans, I didn't know..Lots of famous people expoused them. Yowza. I liked Sally fielD in "Not Without My Daughter." Neat look at Women's oppression. Who the Heck's "Bilitis." Gonna check it out. Radical like Body Count's "Cop Killer" and Steven Lee Beeber's "The Heebie-Jeebies at cbgb's". A radical account of that (Yo Steve!)wonderful life. Wunderbar as my German motheR might say.
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