welcome!!!!!! this is long overdue. i’ve been promising myself i’d made this forever. so here it is - the ultimate masterpost of wlw (women loving women) books. not all characters are lesbians, some are bi or pan, though all books feature f/f relationships and/or themes. there are 150+ recommendations, so enjoy!
When one of the biggest movie stars of the last 10 years refers to herself as “so gay” on one of the most-watched late-night television shows on the air, it forces people to reconfigure how they think about what it means to be “gay” and who and what that term includes. Suddenly, anyone who only knew Stewart as “that girl from ‘Twilight’” and “Robert Pattinson’s ex girlfriend,” is confronted by her sexuality in a new and startling way, and it upends assumptions about the community, which is exactly why coming out is still so crucial.
The series of interviews conducted by Dr. George Henry with lesbians in the ‘30s illustrates a contentment in the lives of many of these women that would have frazzled the censors had that picture been reflected in the media. Many of his interviewees were self-actualized individuals, living to their full potential in mutually productive relationships. They say things such as:
“I’m doing the work [as an editor] I always wanted to do and I’m very, very happy. I’m very much in love with the girl too. We click… She has had the most influence for good in my life.”
— 20-year old white woman
“If I were born again I would like to be just as I am. I’m perfectly satisfied being a girl and being as I am. I’ve never had any regrets.”
— 26-year-old black woman
“Our relationship is just as sweet now [after eleven years] as in the beginning.”
— 29-year-old white woman
“Since we have been living together our lives are fuller and happier. We create things together and we are devoted to our [adopted] baby.”
— 30-year-old white woman
“I have a great confidence in the future. I think I’m going to be a very well-known artist… Homosexuality hasn’t interfered with my work. It has made it what it is.”
— 30-year-old white woman
— Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth-Century America, pg. 112 by Lillian Faderman
When a girl loves a girl the touches are softer,
fingers like feathers, tracing underneath the breastbone in the midst of twilight.
When a girl loves a girl the tears are harder,
they fall like glass, clear like her eyes laced with honesty and love that smells like lavender
When a girl loves a girl the other girls tongues are sharper,
abomination falls from their lips, lips that have touched their friends in the dark, rich with intoxication
When a girl loves a girl the boys shrink into themselves,
a hurricane is cast around their heads, a rushing desire to have what they can’t, wanting to claim what is not theirs, demanding that it’s being ripped from their calloused hands.
When a girl loves a girl the world whispers, some louder than others
the indoctrinated have matches for fingers, lighting fires for our eternal souls to rot in
the preachers of peace shrug their shoulders, sometimes they chant for us, it’s never loud enough.
the planets sing for us as we dance among the stars,
When a girl loves a girl, she owns the universe.
They would ask if I was a man or a woman. They could arrest a woman for impersonating a man, so you had to be sure you were wearing three pieces of women’s clothes. You learned to avoid the police by walking on the side of the street where the cars were parked, or in the opposite direction on the one way streets so they would have to back up to get to you. It was always in the backs of our minds that we could be arrested. Any woman wearing pants was suspect.
Jackie, a lesbian who lived in New Orleans during the 1950s, quoted in Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth-Century America
But most lesbians never went to bars. Occasionally middle-class lesbians could make contacts with other women if they were members of a private group such as the Nucleus Club, an informal New York-based organization of the late 1930s that held weekly parties for lesbians together with gay men.
But although police harassment of lesbians was not common in the 1930s, they knew, perhaps by their observation of gay male experiences, that it was a potential they had to take into account, and that awareness must have dampened the enthusiasm of many to join such a club. The Nucleus Club parties were in private homes, but the group still thought it essential to adopt the rule that each gay man would pair with a lesbian as they left the party and they would go strolling out arm in arm so that neighbors would think the couples had been to a heterosexual gathering.
One should not underestimate the fun in this game of “fooling the straights,” but underneath the fun was genuine fear.
— Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth-Century America, pg. 108 by Lillian Faderman