Lavender Woman was a lesbian periodical produced out of Chicago, Illinois from 1971 to 1976. This periodical ran 26 issues, all published irregularly. Lavender Woman was a collaborative newspaper aimed at voicing the concerns of many in the lesbian community, and also to be an outlet for those concerns. The strive for inclusiveness was important to the lesbian community as a way to combat their feelings of exclusion from the mainstream feminist movement.
In November of 1971, the lesbian newspaper Lavender Woman began as a segment of the larger paper The Feminist Voice written by members of the Women’s Caucus of Chicago Gay Alliance. The first issue of The Feminist Voice was published in August, and in only four months Lavender Woman became its own publication. Different women contribute to each issue and on the second page of each issue, the contributor's names are listed. Allowing different women to contribute to each issue is a way to include many different lesbian voices and lesbian works in the magazine. It was their hope to include as many of these submissions as they could. Lavender Woman referred to these submissions as “bits of themselves” affirming that the art, writing, photos, etc., being shared were personal to those who chose to share their experiences.
Responses to Lavender Woman convey the importance of lesbian publications during a time where the lesbian community was feeling excluded from many different facets of life, such as feminism, their families, and society at large. Overall, the feedback consisted of gratefulness for the publishing of the paper, and for how the newspaper helped readers to feel less alone in their lives.
One of the physical archives of the Lavender Woman periodical were originally owned by the Atlanta Feminist Lesbian Alliance, and when that group dissolved in 1994 they were sold to Duke University. The University of Michigan Joseph A. Labadie Collection has an incomplete archive of Lavender Woman, having all but 5 of the 26 total issues. Digital archives can be accessed on the Duke Digital Collection and on An Open Access Collection of an Alternative Press, Independent Voices.
When the Chicago Lesbian Liberation group split from Lavender Woman, it published its own newsletter from 1973 to 1974.. Lavender Woman canceled the Chicago Lesbian Liberation’s one-page space over a controversial cartoon. In response, the Chicago Lesbian Liberation published two issues of The Original Lavender Woman in September and October of 1974. The result was the first significant divide among the lesbian periodical publishing community
- List of lesbian periodicals in the United States
- Lesbian feminism
- Lesbian literature
- Atlanta Lesbian Feminist Alliance
- Baim, Tracy (2008). Out and Proud in Chicago: An Overview of the City's Gay Community. Surrey: Agate Surrey. p. 93. ISBN 978-1572841000.
- “Lavender Woman: A Lesbian Newspaper .” 1st ed., vol. 2, Lavender Woman, 1971, p. 12.
- "Guide to the Atlanta Lesbian Feminist Alliance Archives, ca. 1972-1994". David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Retrieved 2018-12-11.
- "U-M Library Search". search.lib.umich.edu. Retrieved 2019-06-13.
- "Lavender Woman November, 1971 — Independent Voices". voices.revealdigital.com. Retrieved 2018-12-11.