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Outfest to screen documentary on butch-lesbian trailblazer Jeanne Córdova

Jeanne Córdova was a pioneering butch, Chicana-lesbian activist who helped launch the lesbian-feminist liberation movement. Photo: Jill Posener.

HOLLYWOOD — Jeanne Córdova was a pioneering butch, Chicana-lesbian activist who helped launch the lesbian-feminist liberation movement.

The documentary “Jeanne Córdova: Butches, Lies & Feminism” plays tonight at Outfest.

The film is part of the Latinx Ladies Shorts Program.

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How much of a trailblazer was Córdova, who passed away on Jan. 10, 2016, at the age of 67?

  • In 1972, Córdova started the nation’s first lesbian newspaper, The Lesbian Tide. It stopped publishing in 1980.
  • In 1973, Córdova and the Lesbian Tide organized and hosted the first major lesbian feminist symposium in Los Angeles, the West Coast Lesbian Conference.
  • In 1980, she helped found the Gay & Lesbian Caucus of the Democratic Party and she served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.
  • Córdova published the Community Yellow Pages, the nation’s first LGBT business directory

Córdova remained an activist until the end of her life.

In September 2015, Córdova published “A Letter About Dying, to My Lesbian Communities,” in which she announced that “the rumors are true, I have metastasized to-the-brain cancer.”

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“I write publicly to the women who have defined my life because I want to share this last journey, as I have shared so much of my activist life with you. You gave me a life’s cause…: freedom and dignity for lesbians. I believe that’s what lesbian feminism is really about, sharing. We built a movement by telling each other our lives and thoughts about the way life should be.”

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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