I’m proud to introduce “Mapping Action: Lesbian Avengers Actions in New York City.” As a companion to my dissertation entitled “Making as World-Making: What the Lesbian Avengers Can Teach about Communal Composing, Agency, and World-Building.” In my dissertation, through ethnographically informed qualitative interviews, I detail themes on making from former members of the Lesbian Avengers—an activist group prominent in the 1990s—to illuminate how the communal practice of making is a deliberate and complex rhetorical act of world-building, especially for marginalized communities.
Founded in New York in 1992 by six experienced political activists aiming to provide mentorship to novice lesbian activists, the Lesbian Avengers were, according to their handbook, “ a direct action group using grassroots activism to fight for lesbian survival and visibility” (Schulman et al. 5). Their purpose as an organization was “to promote lesbian issues and perspectives while empowering lesbians to become experienced organizers who can participate in political rebellion” (Schulman et al. 5). By 1996, more than 20 chapters of the Lesbian Avengers had sprung up across the country, totalling to nearly 20,000 members (Schulman).
For this CHI project, I developed a map of the various protests, actions, events, and marches the Lesbian Avengers enacted in New York City. On the map, you can use the time-slider bar to see which actions took place in which year. Eventually, I hope to expand this project to all the actions the Avengers across the country enacted.
Special thanks to the Lesbian Herstory Archives for providing the original timeline of actions in their space, as well as to Maxine Wolfe, who wrote the timeline.