June Mazer Lesbian Archives

The Archives, originally called the West Coast Lesbian Collections, was founded in Oakland California, in 1981. Six years later it was moved to Los Angeles by Connexxus Women’s Center/Centro de Mujeres. The Archives acquired its present name after the death of June Mazer, in honor of her work as a community activist and invaluable supporter of the Archives.

The June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives remains the only archive on this side of the continent that is dedicated exclusively to preserving lesbian history and to guaranteeing that those who come after us will not have to believe that they “walk alone.” The Archives is committed to gathering and preserving materials by and about lesbians and feminists of all classes, ethnicities, races and experiences. Included are personal letters and scrapbooks, artwork, manuscripts, books, records, newspapers, magazines, photographs, videotapes, flyers, papers of lesbian and feminist organizations, private papers, and even clothing, such as softball uniforms from the 1940s and 50s.

Hundreds of lesbians and feminists have been inspired to donate artifacts of their personal and collective histories. The Archives encourages all lesbians to deposit the everyday mementos of your lives so that others can discover them in the future. The privacy of any donor is protected to whatever extent she desires.

In 1989, the archives earned 501(c)(3) nonprofit status and received donated space from the city of West Hollywood, where it remains today. The mission of the Mazer Archives is to collect, preserve and make accessible lesbian, feminist and women’s queer history as a means of providing a link among all generations of lesbians; to develop social activities, educational events, opportunities and programs that promote historical awareness; and to provide research and resource facilities.

The all-volunteer staff of the Mazer Archives not only keeps the doors open, but also helps to make lesbian communities and others aware of our history through speaking engagements, the Archives’ newsletter, In The Life, (no longer in publication), and special programs and exhibits.

Training for Change

Training for Change  creates training and capacity-building resources for activists and other groups working on equity and social justice issues. Training material topics include Diversity and Anti-Oppression resources, Meeting Facilitation, Team-Building, and Organizing Strategies.

“Training For Change | Movement and Capacity Building at the Grassroots.” n.d. Accessed January 22, 2019. https://www.trainingforchange.org/.

“Free as in sexist?” Free Culture and the Gender Gap / Joseph Reagle

This article is particularly valuable when discussing stereotypical and default modes of collaboration and communication within technical communities. Reagle focuses particularly on gender, but the framework laid out here also has resonance for technical development involving other underrepresented communities.

“Despite the values of freedom and openness, the free culture movement’s gender balance is as skewed (or more so) as that of the computing culture from which it arose. Based on the collection and analysis of discourse on gender and sexism within this movement over a six–year period. I suggest three possible causes: (a) some geek identities can be narrow and unappealing; (b) open communities are especially susceptible to difficult people; and, (c) the ideas of freedom and openness can be used to dismiss concerns and rationalize the gender gap as a matter of preference and choice.”

Reagle, Joseph. 2012. “‘Free as in Sexist?’ Free Culture and the Gender Gap.” First Monday 18 (1). http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/4291.

digitization: just because you can, doesn’t mean you should / Tara Robertson

In this blog post, Robertson takes a critical look at Reveal Digital’s work to digitize On Our Backs (OOB), a lesbian feminist porn magazine that ran from 1984-2004. She points out that there are ethical issues with digitizing and making print collections like OOB available online and that Reveal Digital needs more robust ethical guidelines and take-down policies. Robertson also emphasizes the importance of working with people who were featured in OOB and appear in the collection, citing their right to be forgotten.

Robertson, Tara. 2016. “Digitization: Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean You Should.” Tara Robertson. March 20, 2016. http://tararobertson.ca/2016/oob/.

Finding Gender-Inclusiveness Software Issues with GenderMag: A Field Investigation

Gender inclusiveness in computing settings is receiving a lot of attention, but one potentially critical factor has mostly been overlooked—software itself. To help close this gap, we recently created GenderMag, a systematic inspection method to enable software practitioners to evaluate their software for issues of gender-inclusiveness. In this paper, we present the first real-world investigation of software practitioners‘ ability to identify gender-inclusiveness issues in software they create/maintain using this method. Our investigation was a multiple-case field study of software teams at three major U.S. technology organizations. The results were that, using GenderMag to evaluate software, these software practitioners identified a surprisingly high number of gender-inclusiveness issues: 25% of the software features they evaluated had gender-inclusiveness issues.

Burnett, Margaret, Anicia Peters, Charles Hill, and Noha Elarief. 2016. “Finding Gender-Inclusiveness Software Issues with GenderMag: A Field Investigation.” In , 2586–98. ACM Press. https://doi.org/10.1145/2858036.2858274.