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A Woman Like That: Lesbian and Bisexual Writers Tell Their Coming Out Stories

by Joan Larkin (Editor)

Other authors: Jacquie Bishop (Contributor), Cynthia Bond (Contributor), Blanche McCrary Boyd (Contributor), Rebecca Brown (Contributor), Pat Califia (Contributor)26 more, Mary Beth Caschetta (Contributor), Chrystos (Contributor), Karin Cook (Contributor), Jane DeLynn (Contributor), Wendy W. Fairey (Contributor), Beatrix Gates (Contributor), Judy Grahn (Contributor), Bertha Harris (Contributor), Holly Hughes (Contributor), Karla Jay (Contributor), Jill Johnston (Contributor), Judith Katz (Contributor), Kanani Kauka (Contributor), Eva Kollisch (Contributor), Heather Lewis (Contributor), Elizabeth Lorde-Rollins (Contributor), Eileen Myles (Contributor), Letta Neely (Contributor), Joan Nestle (Contributor), Leslea Newman (Contributor), Minnie Bruce Pratt (Contributor), Margaret Randall (Contributor), Mariana Romo-Carmona (Contributor), Cecilia Tan (Contributor), Tristan Taormino (Contributor), Cheryl Boyce Taylor (Contributor)

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2423112,296 (3.83)None
The act of "coming out" has the power to transform every aspect of a woman's life: family, friendships, career, sexuality, spirituality. An essential element of self-realization, it is the unabashed acceptance of one's "outlaw" standing in a predominantly heterosexual world. These accounts -- sometimes heart-wrenching, often exhilarating -- encompass a wide breadth of backgrounds and experiences. From a teenager institutionalized for her passion for women to the mother who must come out to her young sons at the risk of losing them -- from the cautious academic to the raucous liberated femme -- each woman represented here tells of forging a unique path toward the difficult but emancipating recognition of herself. Extending from the 1940s to the present day, these intensely personal stories in turn reflect a unique history of the changing social mores that affected each woman's ability to determine the shape of her own life. Together they form an ornate tapestry of lesbian and bisexual experience in the United States over the past half-century.… (more)
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Although these stories were incredibly personal, I found myself unable to relate to several of them and even lost interest in a few as I wondered where the author was going with their story. However, it was an overall good read. The proof, I suppose, is evident from my markings throughout the book and my interest in the authors works beyond their contribution to this literary work. ( )
  coffeechic | May 31, 2023 |
This was an ok book. I don't know if I classify them as coming out stories. They were more of first experiences with a woman. Still very important a persons life and worth telling. However most of these stories were vague and lackluster. ( )
  ehough75 | Apr 23, 2009 |
As the title implies, this book is a collection of "coming out stories" by lesbian and bisexual writers. Very few of the stories are what we today would canonically think of as "coming out" stories of the sort, "this is what happened when my parents/friends/coworkers/etc. found out I'm not straight." As Joan Larkin explains in the introduction, much of coming out begins with self-realization, so many of these stories are self-realization stories.

There were two big things I noticed with this book. First, even though it was only published in 2000, it is rather dated: even the younger storytellers in the book have their identities wrapped up in Second Wave feminism, making their stories less relevant to young women today. Many of the writers are even older; these are all interesting stories, yes, but they all without fail come across as sorely dated. Secondly, these are coming out stories written by writers: few are told with a simple straightforward "so this is what happened and this is how I felt" manner. Furthermore, for many of these women, the process of self-realization and coming out—understandably—is wrapped up with her development as a writer and development in a community of women writers. So with these caveats in mind, I mostly only recommend this book to people specifically interested in the history (of feminism, gay life, and writing) involved. ( )
  mollishka | Jul 15, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Larkin, JoanEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bishop, JacquieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bond, CynthiaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Boyd, Blanche McCraryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brown, RebeccaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Califia, PatContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Caschetta, Mary BethContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
ChrystosContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cook, KarinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
DeLynn, JaneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fairey, Wendy W.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gates, BeatrixContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Grahn, JudyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Harris, BerthaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hughes, HollyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jay, KarlaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Johnston, JillContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Katz, JudithContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kauka, KananiContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kollisch, EvaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lewis, HeatherContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lorde-Rollins, ElizabethContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Myles, EileenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Neely, LettaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nestle, JoanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Newman, LesleaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pratt, Minnie BruceContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Randall, MargaretContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Romo-Carmona, MarianaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tan, CeciliaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Taormino, TristanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Taylor, Cheryl BoyceContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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The act of "coming out" has the power to transform every aspect of a woman's life: family, friendships, career, sexuality, spirituality. An essential element of self-realization, it is the unabashed acceptance of one's "outlaw" standing in a predominantly heterosexual world. These accounts -- sometimes heart-wrenching, often exhilarating -- encompass a wide breadth of backgrounds and experiences. From a teenager institutionalized for her passion for women to the mother who must come out to her young sons at the risk of losing them -- from the cautious academic to the raucous liberated femme -- each woman represented here tells of forging a unique path toward the difficult but emancipating recognition of herself. Extending from the 1940s to the present day, these intensely personal stories in turn reflect a unique history of the changing social mores that affected each woman's ability to determine the shape of her own life. Together they form an ornate tapestry of lesbian and bisexual experience in the United States over the past half-century.

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