A Lesbian Capital: “Odd Girls” in Washington DC

Even after a half-century of serious scholarly inquiry into American gay communities, histories continue to ignore lesbian women. Queer memories of gay liberation around events like Stonewall and the AIDS crisis largely omit the role of lesbians. This exhibit explores only a small facet of lesbian communities in the Washington DC metropolitan area. However, using t-shirts almost exclusively from the Rainbow History Project archives of Washington DC, this online exhibit shows how women who loved other women significantly shaped the past four decades of LGBT life.

Lesbian women led picket lines, opened up thriving businesses, produced unique music, and reshaped public health projects in Washington.  These DC “odd girls” actively sought to affirm their lesbian identities not only against straight society but also from what some lesbians saw as a gay subculture concerned almost exclusively with the issues of men.