For the last twenty-five years, The Lesbian Avengers have been at the forefront of the fight for the rights of the LGBTQ community.
Formed in 1992 in reaction to lesbian invisibility and in the shadow of Pat Buchanan’s Republican National Convention speech declaring that America was engaged in a culture war, the grassroots, hands-on coalition unapologetically promoted queerness by focusing on “high-impact street activism, not on talking.”
According to The Lesbian Avengers’ website, the group avoided “traditional picket lines, sit-ins, and petitions” and instead “created actions with stronger, original images more likely to attract both media coverage and new members.” Some of these actions included eating fire to call attention to the firebombing deaths of Hattie Mae Cohens and Brian Mock, giving school children balloons that read “Ask about lesbian lives,” and organizing 20,000 queer women to march on Washington in the first Dyke March in 1993.
Now, with 2017 marking the 25th anniversary of the founding of The Lesbian Avengers, organizers are curating a mobile exhibit of the group’s history that can travel and be displayed in a number of places and capacities to reach new audiences.
”The Lesbian Avengers 25 exhibit proves that it’s possible to fight back,” Kelly Cogswell, a member of The Lesbian Avengers and the author of Eating Fire: My Life As A Lesbian Avenger, told The Huffington Post. “We have to. We’ve done it before, and we’ll do it again. It’s not magic. But sustained activism does make a difference.”
Cogswell added, “It also shows that you have to take a leap of faith. The whole thing only happened because six people sat down in a room and said, ‘We’re doing this, whether anybody joins us or not.’”