Elderly lesbians and their history of resistance

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It doesn’t matter how old are you, the most important is love and person whom you can believe. Elder lesbians are unique people, they try to resist all their difficulties. A group of older lesbians in Australia are planning a mass hand-hold on the tram, as part of a campaign to remember historical acts of resistance from lesbians. They will hold hands as they travel through the City of Port Phillip to the St Kilda Town Hall for afternoon tea and to share their stories of resistance. The Hold Hands on a Tram campaign was launched this month, and is also hoping to collect more information about lesbian history. “We want to recognise lesbian history,” director of Alice’s Garage and project coordinator, Dr. Catherine Barrett told PinkNews.

“It will be an act of resistance, these older lesbians jumping on the tram to hold hands and to bring visibility. They are also inviting older lesbians to share their experiences of lesbophobia over their life and the way they resisted, and encouraging younger lesbians to talk to their elders and hear their stories. Dr. Barrett said that in the week since they launched they have had a “really positive” response. “A lot of lesbians I speak to had no idea that lesbians experienced discrimination,” she told PinkNews.

“In Australia we tend to refer to LGBTI histories collectively – as though everyone had the same historical experiences. We want to raise awareness of the unique experiences of older lesbians and how lesbophobia was and is different from homophobia.” One such story Alice’s Garage have collected is that of lesbian elder Jill Bolen. Bolen fought the police’s attempts to harass and intimidate her out of the force for twenty years and went on to become the first woman Chief Superintendent in Queensland.

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