vol 18 - 1992

In spite of every effort by politicians and the media to place "family values"—heterosexual, monogamous, religiously based marriage—at the forefront of the fall 1992 presidential campaign, the issue seems to have slipped in popularity among Americans. Perhaps too many of us exist happily in nontraditional families—even in "families we choose," to quote a recent book on lesbians and gays by the anthropologist Kath Weston. Nevertheless, accusations of homosexuality can still have a potent effect upon a politician's popularity; homophobia lies just beneath the surface of our political and social lives. In this special issue on lesbians, we find a polyphony of voices challenging the public discourse on sexuality, as constituted for mass consumption. The favorite empty phrases of politicians—family, choice, sexual behavior, public appearance—all have complicated histories and meanings.

In our lead article Martha Vicinus simultaneously affirms the multiplicity of lesbian identities and documents the "scripts" of modern lesbianisms. She brings to light the lives of cross-dressed actresses, bohemian experimenters, and "mannish" women-identified women. In the process she documents the longevity of the nature/ nurture debate on the origin of sexual orientation and the importance of male theorists in setting the parameters of this debate.



Martha Vicinus
"They Wonder to Which Sex I Belong':
The Historical Roots of the Modern Lesbian Identity

Lisa Moore
"Something More Tender Still than Friendship":
Romantic Friendship in Early-Nineteenth-Century England

Makeda Silvera
Man Royals and Sodomites: Some Thoughts on the Invisibility of Afro-Caribbean Lesbians

Michele Aina Barale
When Jack Blinks: Si(gh)ting Gay Desire in Ann Bannon's Beebo Brinker

Tessa Boffin and Jean Fraser
Stolen Glances: Lesbians Take Photographs (Art Essay); Photographs by Tessa Boffin, Deborah Bright, Jacqui Duckworth, Nina Levitt, Lynette Molnar with Linda Thornburg, Ingrid Pollard, Jill Posener

Heather Findlay
Freud's "Fetishism" and the Lesbian Dildo Debates

Leisa D. Meyer
Creating G.I. Jane: The Regulation of Sexuality and Sexual Behavior in the Women's Army Corps during World War II

Gale Jackson
diplomatic gestures: clove's story (Fiction)

Anne Herrmann
Imitations of Marriage: Crossdressed Couples in Contemporary Lesbian Fiction

Cheryl Clarke
Rondeau; The tumstyle; Greta Garbo (Poems)

Susan K. Cahn
Sexual Histories, Sexual Politics (Review Essay)

M.V. Lee Badgett and Rhonda M. Williams
The Economics of Sexual Orientation: Establishing a Research Agenda

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