Edited by Jane Traies.
In this unique archive of life stories, recorded in their own words, women from across the UK share their experiences of living at a time when being lesbian meant hiding your true identity or paying the price for breaking society’s rules. We hear about bold, loving, proud lesbians, living their lives to the full under the disapproving eye of and mostly unaware society.
We hear about people at different stages of life, seeking new connections or having to live in situations which require them to be more discreet than in other parts of their lives. It’s full of delicate surprises, some challenging, most delightful, and one or two which leave you thoughtful. The personal is still political in this moving and inspiring book. Traies offers careful and considered insights in between each different voice but is careful to let the subjects talk about their authentic experiences on their own terms.
This is a valuable collection of narratives which need to be heard by all members of the LGBTQ+ community, to understand the experiences of lesbian women. The final few chapters look unflinchingly at how ageing and the decline of mental capacity affects relationships and how tenderness, understanding and unconditional love helps overcome the dislocations, disturbances and distress caused by Alzheimer’s or dementia, robbing lovers of their compassion. Traies ends this testimony of lesbian lives with a heart-warming love story of two women who meet on a beach in Wales as teenagers and fall in life-long love. Parents, marriage, family, jobs and society intrude and divide them but eventually they reconnect and refresh their unquenchable love.
Their story made me smile so hard with its tenacious hope triumphant, it’s a lovely end to a seriously interesting book. As a cis white gay male I was thrilled by it, I’d encourage every woman who loves women to read it.