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Different Daughters


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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 2006 Reed Business Information.

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