Wednesday, January 29, 2020

"When Lesbians Led the Women’s Suffrage Movement" - A Fascinating Article by Anya Jabour at The Conversation

When Lesbians Led the Women's Suffrage Movement

I knew about Jane Addams (and her life-long relationship with Mary Roset Smith), but the loving-other-women history of Sophonisba Breckinridge (whose "intimate relationship with Edith Abbott, dean of the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration, helped her pioneer the social work profession and promote social welfare policy") and Anna Howard Shaw (who "relied on her companion and secretary, Lucy E. Anthony – suffrage pioneer Susan B. Anthony’s niece") were new to me.

And they shouldn't be.

We should be teaching this history in schools!

At the 1911 meeting of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), the membership elected Jane Addams as first vice president and Sophonisba Breckinridge as second vice president.

The new officers joined a leadership team headed by Anna Howard Shaw, an ordained minister who served as NAWSA’s president from 1904 to 1915.

For the next year, women who loved other women held the top three positions in the nation’s largest feminist organization.
Further, Anya writes,

My research suggests that the personal lives of these suffrage leaders shaped their political agendas. Rather than emphasizing differences of gender, race, ethnicity and class, they advanced equal rights for all Americans.

I'm delighted to learn about them now.

Go read the full piece, and if you're intrigued, dig further. (The article's author just published a biography of Sophonisba Breckinridge.)

There's so much of our queer history to discover!

The light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you,

P.S. Shout-out to my friend Stuart who shared a reprint of this article on Towelroad me! 
I love learning about our LGBTQ history - read something that surprises you? Let me know, and I'll help spread the word!

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