1st Edition

Is lesbian Identity Obsolete? In Conversation with Queer and Trans Perspectives

Edited By Ella Ben Hagai Copyright 2023

    This cross-disciplinary book engages with the provocation, "Is lesbian identity obsolete?". In this volume, researchers offer diverse perspectives on the question of lesbian identity past, present, and future. This eclectic, multidisciplinary compilation composed of chapters and shorter commentaries helps readers understand the roots of conflict and current tensions between the queer and the trans movements and the lesbian community.

    Using a historical lens, authors examine the 1970s lesbian communities' practices of racial and trans inclusion and exclusion. Several contributions from across the social sciences utilize qualitative and quantitative methods to illuminate the shifting meaning of lesbian identity today. These contributions help explain why some cis and trans women and nonbinary folx come to either be attached to or disavow lesbian identification. An additional set of chapters engage in theoretical analysis to explore the fraught relationship between queer theory and lesbian thought and the importance of lesbian theory in the formation of transgender scholarship. This collection's eclectic engagement with the question of lesbian identity's obsoleteness helps draw an ethical blueprint for a more sustainable, inclusive, and coalitional future for lesbian communities and identities.

    This book will be of great value to students, researchers and scholars in the fields of Sociology, Psychology and Anthropology including Gay and Lesbian studies as well as the intersectionality of gender and sexuality. The chapters in this book were originally published in the Journal of Lesbian Studies.

    Introduction: Is lesbian identity obsolete? In Conversation with Queer and Trans Perspectives

    Ella Ben Hagai

    1. Shifting inclusions: Identities and spaces of political lesbianism in Montreal from 1970 to 2020

    Tara Chanady

    2. "I was returning to see if the ghosts were still astirring": Southern lesbian reflexivity as social movement in Feminary (1979–1982)

    Sarah Heying

    3. Between mother and daughter: Brown erotics and sacred notes

    Sara Shroff

    4. The institutionalization of queer theory: Where has lesbian criticism gone?

    Maite Escudero-Alías

    5. "Somos contra la ‘queer-ificacíon’"/"We reject the queer-ification of lesbianism": Lesbian political identity and anti-queer politics among Mexican lesbians and queer Chicanas-Latinas

    Stacy I. Macias

    6. Women who prefer "lesbian" to "queer": Generational continuity and discontinuity

    Jessica Megarry, Catherine Orian Weiss, Meagan Tyler and Kate Farhall

    7. Comparing conceptions of gender, sexuality and lesbian identity between baby boomers and millennials

    Ella Ben Hagai, Rachelle Annechino and Tamar Antin

    8. Lesbian, feminist, TERF: A queer attack on feminist studies

    Carly Thomsen and Laurie Essig

    9. "Lezibian/mulezi": Adoption of "globalized" lesbian identity and secondary self-labels among same-sex attracted women in Harare

    Nelson Muparamoto

    10. "Erase/rewind": How transgender Twitter discourses challenge and (re)politicize lesbian identities

    Lexi Webster

    11. Toward a historiography of the lesbian transsexual, or the TERF’s nightmare

    Jules Gill-Peterson

    12. Learning butch: Tracing lesbian and trans becoming in the classroom

    L. Helton

    13. Lesbian vitality: A provocation

    Julie R. Enszer

    14. Is lesbian identity obsolete? Some (limited) answers and further questions from a unique philology of human behavioral science perspective

    Charlotte Chucky Tate

    15. Willful lives: Self-determination in lesbian and trans feminisms

    Kathryn J. Perkins


    Ella Ben Hagai is Assistant Professor of Psychology at California State University, Fullerton, USA. Trained in Psychology and Anthropology, her research focuses on processes that lead individuals who are members of different social groups (e.g., class, ethnic, religious) to develop a shared political consciousness that supports equal distribution of resources across groups. Her theoretical work examines the intersections between trans* and queer theory and recent psychological research on gender and sexuality.