July 16, 2021: Lillian Faderman is a mother and grandmother, but these aren’t the only titles that make her proud: The La Jolla resident is known, depending on who you talk to, as the “mother of lesbian history” or the “foremother of gay and lesbian studies.”
Over the past four decades, Faderman’s books have revealed the hidden history of female same-sex romance and uncovered how American lesbians pioneered social movements that transformed our society. She’s also written landmark books about gay rights, pioneering politician Harvey Milk and more. Three of her works have been named Notable Books by The New York Times, a remarkable accomplishment for any author.
Faderman, who turns 81 on Saturday at the tail end of San Diego’s Pride Week, isn’t done. She recently curated an exhibit about local LGBTQ+ history at the San Diego History Center, and she’s now finishing her work on an upcoming book. In an interview, she talked about her awakening as a Southern California teenager, the influential roles of lesbians in America’s past and San Diego’s surprising history as a vanguard of LGBT activism.
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