Last weekend, I went to the Brooklyn Zine Festival where I had the pleasure of meeting Elvis Bakaitis, and picked up one of their "Homos in Herstory" comic zines. I chose the "1920s Edition" which is the latest in the series. Also available were 1970s" and "19th Century" along with "Twinks for Sale," a zine exploring the notion of the female-bodied twink!
Homos in Herstory: 1920s Edition was a really interesting read. And fun! My favorite kind of history lesson! It looks at all sorts of aspects of gender politics during the 20s, from the newfangled notion of dating, to androgynous fashions and muses on the lives of several interesting characters who broke all the rules. For example: Gladys Bently, a female-bodied blues singer who dressed in a tuxedo and would sing bawdy numbers all night backed by a chorus of femme boys dressed in sailor outfits.
Also examined are the painter Gluck, who would send lawyers after anyone who labeled them "Miss" and writer Radclyffe Hall whose work was banned for obscenity. There are accounts of gay bars in the West Village and an intriguing look at a lesbian community in Deadwood, South Dakota. The comic zine does well putting these characters into the context of a changing time and explores the surrounding political swings, fads and different reactions to the presence of genderqueer people living in a world that didn't quite know what to do with them. I look forward to reading the rest of the series, which you can pick up at Elvis's Etsy Shop! Learn some herstory!
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