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Provocative lesbian history exhibit in WeHo to close Friday

Lesbian, bi, queer and transgender women have reclaimed their vital role in Los Angeles history in the exhibit “Lesbians to Watch Out For: ‘90s Queer L.A. Activism.” The exhibit, on display at Long Hall in West Hollywood’s Plummer Park, will close Friday with a special lineup of guest speakers and performers. Photo: Lynn Harris Ballen

WEST HOLLYWOOD — Lesbian, bi, queer and transgender women have reclaimed their vital role in Los Angeles history in the exhibit “Lesbians to Watch Out For: ‘90s Queer L.A. Activism.”

The exhibit, on display at Long Hall in West Hollywood’s Plummer Park,  will close Friday with a special lineup of guest speakers and performers.

“LESBIANS TO WATCH OUT FOR”

“Lesbians to Watch Out For” documents 1990s protest and street activism like dyke marches and public kiss-ins and the local such grassroots community groups as The United Lesbians of African Heritage, Lesbians Unidas, Los Angeles Asian Pacific Islander Sisters, Transgender Menace, and Bi-Net.

Long-time community organizer Judy Sisneros and Lynn Harris Ballen, an early LA Dyke March organizer who produces and co-hosts Feminist Magazine Radio on KPFK 90.7 FM, collaborated on the exhibit with the June Mazer Lesbian Archives and The Lesbian Exploratory.

BEYOND THE USUAL SUSPECTS

“Lesbians to Watch Out For” goes beyond the usual suspects of LGBTQ history, said exhibit co-organizer Lynn Harris Ballen, an early LA Dyke March organizer who produces and co-hosts Feminist Magazine Radio on KPFK 90.7 FM.

“We wanted to tell the stories not of the organizations that are sitting in buildings and have non-profit boards; we wanted to tell the stories of street activism,” Ballen told Los Angeles Magazine. “We also wanted to tell all these untold stories of these community orgs that were mostly women of color orgs.”

The display includes zines, protest signs and stickers, photographs, memories of queer performances, censorship, and the spaces where activists fought for change.

“A lot of women in the community don’t know that this was happening,” Sisneros told the magazine. “We get left out of the big queer history centerfold.”

The exhibit “Lesbians to Watch Out For” documents 1990s protest and street activism like dyke marches and public kiss-ins and the local such grassroots community groups as The United Lesbians of African Heritage, Lesbians Unidas, Los Angeles Asian Pacific Islander Sisters, Transgender Menace, and Bi-Net. Photo: Lynn Harris Ballen.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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