Home' LOTL : November 2004 Contents It is the oldest Australia wide lesbian publication. Like LOTL,
Lesbian Network had humble beginnings as the creative
idea of a few women and blossomed, due to the hard work
of many. There is a tangible connection between LOTL and
Lesbian Network. Jaz, a co- founder of LOTL had also been
involved in Lesbian Network. The LN collective strongly
encouraged LOTL's creation.
A Brisbane lesbian consciousness raising group, Karen, Ruth,
Jude and Lavender, formed in February 1983. They put out a
sheet called Lesbian Feminist Network at the International
Women's Day Celebrations. From this tentative move and
inspired by the New Zealand Lesbian Feminist Circle and Lesbian
Connection from Michigan USA, the group drew up a proposal
for Lesbian Feminist Network to be workshopped at the
Brisbane1984 Women and Labour Conference.
Ideas presented were that Lesbian Feminist Network be a
national publication for networking across Australian lesbian
communities. Key policy proposals were that it be a network
of writings by, for and about lesbians, without the
inter vention of editors. Also, that it reflect a pro-lesbian, non-
racist, feminist approach. The function of LN was to facilitate
visibility, networking, support and promote access for
lesbians. More than 60 lesbians crowded into the very small
room at the conference. The idea was warmly welcomed and
supported by donations to get 'The Network' started, as well
as the beginning of network lists.
Lavender and Jude moved to Sydney around that time so
LN started there. At the first collective meeting the name
Lesbian Network was confirmed with three witches in three
women's symbols as the logo. The first of the quarterly
publications came out in October 1984. Lesbians gave their
time generously to networking, production and fund raising,
by organising regular dances, raffles and so on.
Lesbian Network has been produced by collectives in different
states: Sydney from 1984--94 (a Brisbane collective printed,
collated and mailed out the magazine in the early years); Adelaide
1994--2000, and Melbourne 2000 to the present day. These
collectives continued the main objectives of the magazine and
added their own changes to layout and style. Twenty years ago
technology for low budget magazine production was typing, cut
and paste, Letraset (we older women know what that is), and
original black and white art work. All covers were original work.
The content of Lesbian Network has continued with lesbian
specific writings from around Australia and sometimes overseas.
This includes letters, stories, poetry, articles on current and
general issues, gardening, health and cooking tips, music and
book reviews, and most importantly lesbian news and
community, community lists for each state, and networking lists
for Australia and overseas. Lesbian Contacts have enabled many
lesbians to access activities and lesbian communities when they
move or holiday around Australia.
Exchanges with eleven overseas publications and archives
were established. Lesbian Network was sent to sister publications
in Australia. Lesbians took copies of Lesbian Network to festivals
like the Michigan Women's Music Festival and international
lesbian and feminist conferences. State contacts distributed
copies as did feminist bookshops, and other similar locations.
Distribution and maintenance of subscriptions is a difficult
problem. Lesbians want information but tend to rely on word of
mouth from their friends for it. Keeping our publications alive
and well through contributing to them and buying them helps
to keep our community alive and well.
While the internet has enabled increased contact for
isolated lesbians there is still a place for hard copy. A magazine
can be passed on to friends, or left around for browsing.
Lesbian Network is a tangible manifestation of a lesbian
community providing a link between lesbian feminists and
other lesbians. It is not the newsletter of organisations but of
communities, representing their diverse views. Over twenty
years there are many stories and pictures recording Lesbian
Network's history. Send yours to PO Box 333, Clifton Hill,
Victoria 3068 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A subscription for four issues costs $30 waged, $20 unwaged.
FOUNDING MOTHERS OF LESBIAN NETWORK: LAVENDER ON LEFT, WITH JUDITH HAGGARD
THIS YEAR CELEBRATES TWENTY YEARS OF
LESBIAN NETWORK. BY SYLVIA KINDER.
Comments and suggestions to Sylvia Kinder on (02) 9745 6270
or email email@example.com
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