Lesbians in Canada
Stone, Sharon Dale (ed)Publisher: Between the Lines, Toronto, Canada
Year Published: 1990
Pages: 233pp Price: $15.95 ISBN: 0-921284-29-2
Resource Type: Book
Cx Number: CX4129
Abstract: Divided into three parts, this anthology looks at various aspects of lesbian life in modern Canadian society: the diversity of lesbian experience, ranging from old age to physical disability; the lesbian perspective in relation to law, human rights, education, academe, and sex; and efforts to organize lesbians and lesbian studies in Canada.
Most of the essays touch on the same theme eventually: overcoming society's "lesbophobia." A good example is the chapter on the difficulties faced by lesbians who teach in public school. The choice to come out as a lesbian is complicated, as the teacher could lose her authority in the classroom, her credibility with her peers, and her "appropriateness" with parents: "`The mothers come in and they talk about their kids. It's really nice for them to have someone to talk to. And I would think about how these women would open up to me. And I would think: "if they only knew that I'm a lesbian and that their child -- a six-year-old thing -- is with me." They would just be shocked. They would be pulling their kids out."' In the image they present, teachers are careful to avoid any overt or blatant statements, and all have found specific ways to not draw attention to their private lives.
As an insight into the life experience of lesbians, the book could not be improved upon: "The focus of the anthology is on the experiential; most articles are based on interview data, and spend more time giving voice to those interviewed than analyzing what was said." The strength of Lesbians in Canada is in this interview format; as one contributor concludes, she wrote her essay to be "practical and useful ... for those who are interested in countering everyday objections to lesbian lifestyle."