Sharing skills and answering the essentials. Who the heck were the Lesbian Avengers? What did they accomplish? How did they pull it off?

The point? Inspiring and supporting baby dykes, activists, and anybody who's ever dreamed of saving the world.

Project Elements

Top Priority for 2021

Sharing activist resources is an essential part of the project. We're pleased to announce the new edition of The Lesbian Avenger Handbook: A Handy Guide to Homemade Revolution giving updated, step-by-step instructions for activists working today. We've also added additional content to inform and inspire. Our goal this year? Getting it in as many hands as possible.

This website is the heart of the documentary project. We'll be adding regularly to the histories, timelines, and collection of primary source material including digitized flyers annotated with the designer's own comments, press releases, photos, and news clippings. Soon we'll be posting segments of video interviews from our oral history project.

Articles analyze everything from the role of direct action in social change to the importance of art and artists in the Avengers. We present the conclusions of the Lesbian Avenger Civil Rights Organizing Project about how "de-gayed" campaigns reinforce homophobia.

Lesbian Avenger Oral History Project (video)

In their own words, former Avengers will describe why they joined, what they did, and how it all worked, from getting press coverage for actions to the intricacies of running a kissing booth.

Segments of the video interviews will be posted online, and a complete transcription of each interview will be deposited in archives coast-to-coast.

Projects origins

Notes from founder, Kelly Cogswell

This project began in 2008, when Ana Simo and I were living in France, and were asked to speak about the Lesbian Avengers at a lesbian conference in Toulouse. We weren't sure we should go. Ana had been a co-founder, and I was a founding member, but we hadn't thought about them in years. In fact, my last memories of the Avengers were exchanges of angry letters, and painful fights circa 1996.

The other problem was that we'd left all our papers in New York and between us couldn't remember the dates of anything. Was it '92 or '93 that the group had begun? When I went online hoping to find the basic info, I discovered a confusing, erroneous Wikipedia entry that was worse than nothing at all. I was depressed and disgruntled, also desperate not to make a fool of myself, especially in French. Su Friedrich was kind enough to send me a copy of the 1993 documentary video, Lesbian Avengers Eat Fire Too, which chronicled the New York Avengers' first year.

I remember sitting at the kitchen table, and feeling apprehensive as I slid the DVD into my mac. Suddenly there was a marching band. And dykes. Tons of them. All those familiar smiling faces. And I was crying and laughing as I watched. I'd forgotten how joyful it was, at least in the beginning, and how much we'd accomplished. I even fell in love with the people whose guts I hated at the end. And it pissed me off that all of us had been erased. Not just in New York, but every single one of the twenty thousands lesbians that had marched in the first Dyke March in 1993 in D.C. And all the many chapters that I knew existed. We'd been erased and we weren't even dead yet.

We went to Toulouse. And when we got back to New York, I went down to our storage area and dug up all our old flyers and old press releases, and started thinking about creating a website, not just as a historical artifact, but because lesbians were once again largely invisible. Our history still wasn't taught in schools. The best you could hope for was a lesbian character in a TV show or film. Or maybe in Subaru commercials. There were no images of us as activists, unless you count the stereotypes of the ugly, angry, man-hating dyke.

If I continue to plug along on this project, sometimes recruiting people to help for free or for peanuts, it's because the Avengers offer one of the few role models for lesbian activists in the flesh. And sooner or later they find it, the curious, restless, unsatisfied, angry young dykes desperate to feel that they, too, have the right to take action on their own behalf. If we did it, they can, as well. They don't need to incorporate, or have big grants or write reports. As we wrote in the Lesbian Avenger Handbook, the only requirement is a willingness to work hard, listen to each other, and be open to having your mind blown.

This is currently the only project of the micro non-profit Homocom, which sometimes sells tee-shirts to fund things like the handbook. We no longer have the stomach to apply for grants.

Even a couple bucks helps. Our sponsor, Homocom, is a nonprofit, so your gift is tax-deductible.


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Using things like newsletters and conference call reports, we've been able to begin documenting 60+ chapters worldwide. There was probably an Avengers group near you, so get involved—make history!

We need to establish:

  • Founding dates
  • Founding members
  • Date of first action
  • Average size of group
  • List of actions (with dates)
  • Special contributions

  • We also want to collect scans of:

  • Newsclippings
  • Flyers
  • Photos
  • Press releases
  • Video
  • Anthing else you can get your hands on.

  • We'll add whatever you send. Just drop us a line first at info at lesbianavengers . com

    We also want to identify candidates for our video oral history project. Want to do the interviews yourself? Drop us a line and we'll send you our standard list of questions, and release form for the interviewee.

    Project Participants
    Cover - Eating Fire My Life as a Lesbian AvengerKelly Cogswell, director, is an independent journalist specializing in politics and culture, and author of Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger (U Minn Press, 2014). A longtime lesbian activist, she worked briefly with the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization in New York before becoming a founding member of the Lesbian Avengers in 1992.

    thumb AdrianaAdriana Avella, radical archivist and all around trouble-maker, worked in collaboration with the Avengers to fight Hate Radio as part of the group Las Buenas Amigas.

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