We publish only work by Lesbians. We are particularly interested in work that reflects the diversity of our experiences: as Lesbians of color, ethnic Lesbians, Jewish, Arab, old, young, working class, poverty class, disabled, and fat Lesbians. We welcome experimental work. We will not print anything that is oppressive or demeaning to Lesbians or women, or that perpetuates stereotypes. We keep an open and critical dialogue on all the issues that affect our lives, joy, and survival.

This special issue of Sinister Wisdom is dedicated to  commemorating the forty-fifth anniversary of the Lesbian Herstory  Archives (LHA). It celebrates LHA, an institution committed to  collecting, preserving, and honoring lesbian identities, herstories, and  lives across generations. The issue will be curated by a collective of  LHA volunteer coordinators.
This special issue of Sinister Wisdom is dedicated to commemorating the forty-fifth anniversary of the Lesbian Herstory Archives (LHA). It celebrates LHA, an institution committed to collecting, preserving, and honoring lesbian identities, herstories, and lives across generations. The issue will be curated by a collective of  LHA volunteer coordinators.

We will curate a diversity of lesbian voices, values, traditions, and experiences at LHA. We will document our past and present, imagine a future, and we will honor the power of this important space. We are particularly interested in works that reflect the personal impact of the Archives--the collections,  the organization and the space--on lesbian lives and self understanding, on our research, work, and politics. 

Contributors may wish to explore topics such as: 

  • intergenerational respect and collaboration 
  • consensus and radical organization and praxis 
  • archival documentation and herstorical repositioning 
  • art and culture as resistance
  • difference and coalitional work 
  • LHA’s events and at-homes
  • issues of access and power 
  • the Archives’ influence on your/group activism
  • the recollection of  being in LHA, a space dedicated to Lesbian herstory 
  • memories of events experienced, friendships made, love found or lost at LHA
  • learning and teaching at LHA
  • staffing and volunteering at LHA
  • stack by stack: the herstory of the LHA building
  • origins of LHA in 13A, the apartment of LHA founders, and the feeling of home still maintained at LHA
  • reminiscences of being transported by a box of diaries, letters, an album of  photographs, the voice of someone reading their work 
  • excitement and/or anxiety of donating to the LHA collection
  • grief and resolution-the commemoration of the life of a loved one through donating to the collections
  • your transformative experience at LHA

We are seeking submissions from those who feel themselves to be intimately connected to LHA as well as visitors, and those whose works have been touched by the existence of LHA, including researchers, coordinators, interns, volunteers, educators, donors, speakers, guests, writers, artists, organizers and activists. We welcome submissions of poems, personal essays, short stories, oral histories, interviews, plays, zines, comics, mixed-genre or experimental pieces, and other original writing of no more than 3,000 words. Shorter works or excerpts are welcome. Visual artists can send up to five paintings, drawings, photos, or other original artwork in black and white. All writing submissions should be in docx, or in any format to lhasinisterwisdom@gmail.com and for art, please use .jpg or .tif (300dpi).  The deadline for submissions is December 31, 2018; however, early submissions are encouraged and appreciated. Please submit electronically at www.sinisterwisdom.org/submit.  We encourage lesbians and queers from all races, ethnicities, ages, abilities, religions, and gender identities to submit. 

Sinister Wisdom Lesbian Herstory Archives Issue Editor Bios

Deborah Edel is one of the founders of the Lesbian Herstory Archives.   She has been involved with the Archives from that first gleam in the  eyes of the women planning the project to the present.  She has served  as the treasurer throughout and  answered most of the mail before email  took over.  She has bowed out of that enormous responsibility but still  will answer letters written to LHA. Deborah is now retired and she and  her partner Teddy are trying to do as much travelling as they possibly  can.  Trained as a social worker and psychologist, she was the Director  of Admissions and head of the Counseling Support Program at Mary  McDowell Friends School, a Brooklyn based Friends school for youngsters  with Learning Disabilities for many years.

Morgan Gwenwald is currently an Associate Librarian at the State  University of New York at New Paltz where she is the Head of Special  Collections. She has also taught in the Women, Gender, and Sexuality  Studies Program on campus. Prior to this she was the Executive Director  of In the Life (the PBS LGBTQ TV series), worked as an MSW (at Fountain  House, Columbia University, Senior Action in a Gay Environment and Stony  Brook University) and also worked at the Gay and Lesbian Alliance  Against Defamation. She is an established photographer (widely published  in the Women’s and LGBTQ press) and has served as a volunteer  coordinator at the Lesbian Herstory Archives for over 20 years. She is  working on a major digitization of her archive of negatives of the  women’s, lesbian and LGBTQ communities.

Stevie Jones is one of the newer coordinators at the Lesbian Herstory  Archives and a co-facilitator of LHA's Lez Create Dyke Arts Workshop.   Stevie’s work has recently been published in Sinister Wisdom.  She is  also a friend and frequent visitor to Woodstock Farm Sanctuary, where  she was a weekly volunteer for years.

Joan Nestle, writer, saw LHA grow from one bookshelf in 1974 and a  dream of a new kind of social history into the fullness of lives it  honors today. She is the author, editor and co editor of 9 books on  lesbian and queer culture, including the memoirs A Restricted Country  (1987) and A Fragile Union, (1998); editor of Persistent Desire: A  Fem-Butch Reader, (1992); co editor with Naomi Holoch of three  anthologies of Lesbian short fiction, Women on Women, (1990, 1992,  1996); with John Preston, Sister and Brother: Lesbians and Gay Men Write  about Their Lives Together, (1991); and with Riki Wilchins and Clare  Howell, GenderQueer: Views from Beyond the Binary (2002). Her recent  writings can be found on Joannestle.com. All of her books are formally  out of print, but when readers do find her words, her deepest wish is  that they give them the strength to resist the public ugliness of the  Trump era.

Flavia Rando, Ph.D., is an art historian who teaches Lesbian,  Women’s, and LGBTQ Studies. A long time lesbian activist, she was a  member of Gay Liberation Front and Radicalesbians and has continued this  work as an academic activist.   She is a Lesbian Herstory Archives  coordinator, who in 2011, inaugurated the Lesbian Studies Institute at  the Archives.  She will begin the seventh year of classes in spring  2018.   She has taught “Classic Lesbian Theorizing,” for the Center for  Lesbian and Gay Studies, CUNY, and is currently working on a study of  1970’s lesbian artists for the catalogue of Art Since Stonewall:  1969-1989.

Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz is Assistant Professor and Head of Reference at  the Graduate Center Library of the City University of New York. Her work  has appeared in Sinister Wisdom: A Lesbian Literary and Art Journal,  Journal of Lesbian Studies, Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies,  multiple Library Juice Press publications and others. She is a board  member for the Center for LGBTQ Studies/CLAGS where she chairs the  archives committee, and is on the advisory board for Gale Primary  Resources’ Sexuality and Gender database. She speaks internationally on  Black Lesbian archival narrative sourcing the work from collections of  the Lesbian Herstory Archives, where she is a volunteer Coordinator.  From Queens College, CUNY she received her MLS with an archival  certification, and her MFA in Creative Writing with a focus in Fiction.  She co-edited Sinister Wisdom 103: Celebrating the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival and enjoys storytelling, narrative, and offering her energy to lesbian-specific spaces.

Red Washburn, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of English and  Co-Director of Women’s and Gender Studies at Kingsborough Community  College (CUNY). She also is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Women and  Gender Studies at Hunter College (CUNY). Her articles appear in Journal  for the Study of Radicalism, Women’s Studies: An Interdisciplinary  Journal, and Journal of Lesbian Studies. Her poetry collection Crestview  Tree Woman was published by Finishing Line Press. She co-edited  Sinister Wisdom 103: Celebrating the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival.  She is currently co-editing Sinister Wisdom's Dump Trump:  Legacies of Resistance issue with Cheryl Clarke and Morgan Gwenwald. She  is a coordinator at the Lesbian Herstory Archives and of the Rainbow  Book Fair.

Maxine Wolfe is an LHA coordinator and has been a volunteer at LHA  since 1984.  She organized and facilitated the book, t-shirt,  organizations, special collection and spoken word digitization projects.  A longtime lesbian and feminist organizer, among other work she was one  of the founders of the Lesbian Avengers, of the NY and National ACT UP  Women’s Committees and Women for Women. She was on the national board of  the Reproductive Rights National Network and was a member of the  Coalition for Abortion Rights and Against Sterilization Abuse and the  Coalition Against Racism, Sexism and Heterosexism. She is a Professor  Emerita of the Environmental Psychology Ph.D. Program at the City  University of New York Graduate School.

To Be a Jewish Dyke in the 21st Century: A New Sinister Wisdom Jewish Lesbian Issue

Every generation of Jews experiences their times as fraught with questions of identity and allegiances. We come from long traditions that are radical as well as conservative, religious and secular, defiant and assimilationist – and resisting binary categories altogether.

Sinister Wisdom asked us, Judith Katz and Elana Dykewomon (bios below), to take a fresh look at contemporary Jewish Dykes, in the spirit of the earlier anthologies, Nice Jewish Girls (1982, Evelyn Torton Beck, ed.) and The Tribe of Dina (1986, Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz and Irena Klepfisz, eds.).

Much to our individual amazement, we agreed. So this is a call to Jewish Lesbians, Dykes & Queer Women and these are some of our questions – to which we hope you will have answers. Or at least, great questions to ask back.

• How do we remember, honor, and engage with Jewish activists & writers who came before us (can we go back further than the lesbian Pauline Newman, who ran for Congress on the Socialist Ticket in 1918?)?

• How do we deal with/conceptualize zionism and the rights of the Palestinian people in these fraught, divisive, and infuriating times?

• What kinds of relationships do Jews of Color and Jews with white skin privilege have with/to each other? With larger Jewish and activist communities? Within our own networks?

• How do working class Jewish dykes see themselves in our larger Jewish and activist communities and networks?

• How do we perceive and deal with anti-Semitism coming from both the right and left? What kind of strategies can we use to counter that?

• What is the place of art in our activist lives: as makers, as audience, as resisters?

• What issues concern young Jewish dykes – how are they defining alliances and community?

• What role does being an observant Jew play in our activism? In our lives? What does it mean to be a Jew outside of traditional Jewish centers of culture and practice?

Looking toward answers for these and any other questions you can pose. We welcome poetry, prose, memoir, essays, short stories, fiction, songs, and visual art by Jewish Lesbians, Dykes & Queer Women (2,000 word limit).

So that's a start. Our call. Your response. Check out http://www.sinisterwisdom.org/node/16 for style guidelines.

Submit manuscripts through Submittable by January 31, 2019

Elana Dykewomon, a long-time social justice activist and teacher, has published eight books foregrounding lesbian heroism, including the award-winning novels Riverfinger Women (Daughters, Inc and Naiad Press), Beyond the Pale (Press Gang and Raincoast Books), Risk (Bywater Books) and most recently, What Can I Ask – New & Selected Poems 1975-2014 (Sinister Wisdom Sapphic Classics). She is currently working on a play about lesbian community and the right to die. From 1987-94 she was an editor of Sinister Wisdom and experiences both apprehension and excitement at the prospect of editing another issue.

Judith Katz is the author of two published novels, each first published by Firebrand Books in the 1990's, then reissued recently by Bywater Books: Running Fiercely Toward a High Thin Sound which won a Lambda Literary Award for Best Lesbian Fiction, and The Escape Artist, which seeks to remind us of the place of Jewish lesbians in our history and our historical imaginations.  She is currently trying to wrestle her third novel to the ground, and working on a longer non-fiction piece about her brother's unexpected death in 2005.  Editing this issue of Sinister Wisdom is a challenge I look forward to with pleasure! 

Ends on June 30, 2019

Asian Lesbians! Do you feel invisible to other queer women or Asian lesbians? Isolated? Happy? Charismatic? Shy? Defiant? Modest? Soft-spoken? Boisterous? Empowered? Helpless? Bold? Bald? Not Asian enough? Disconnected? Tom-boyish? Androgynous? Academically Sapphic? Retired? 

Sinister Wisdom invites and welcomes poetry, fiction, nonfiction, art, and genre-bending works from all Asian Lesbians: American-born Asians, South Asians, Southeast Asians, East Asians, etc. We welcome work from Asians Lesbians in the States and all over the world written predominately in English. 

If you are lesbian and Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Indian, Pakistani, Bangledeshi, Sri Lankan, Nepalese, Afghan, Mongolian, Taiwanese, Korean, Hong Kongese, Macanese, Cambodian, Thai, Laotian, Singaporean, Malaysian, Pilipino, Indonesian, Burmese, Timorese, etc, please submit to us. 

If your Sapphic work deals with Asian desire, fetishism, straightness camouflaging, homophobia, genocide, fasting, seclusion, negation, invisibility, confusion, arranged marriages, bisexuality, Daoism, Christianity, Taoism, Muslimism, Buddhism, Confucianism, negative stereotypes such as apathetic, outsourcing, “Geisha Girl,” or “perpetual foreigners”, please submit to us.

If your work is Asian, Sapphic, healthy and happy, please submit to us.

If your work is Asian, Sapphic, erotic, scholarly, secular, graphic, phantastical, haiku-ic, asexual, sassy, nuptial, eye-opening, monochromatic, please submit to us.

If your work deals with Asian Sapphic suicide, public flogging for having lesbian sex in a car, mung bean cakes, compassion, defecation and rape, nail salons, criminalized Asian lesbianism, avocado sushi rolls, dry-cleaning, cancer, impotence, astrology, lentil, naan, and chickpeas, and everything else please submit your work to us. 

If you (mis) identify yourself as bamboo ceiling lesbians, not-a-model-minority due to your excessive or non-excessive lesbianism, facial whitening, please submit to us. 

If you think you are not submissive or obedient, but you are Sapphic and Asian, please submit your work to us. If you think you are blissfully complacent and shy, please submit your work to us anyway.

If you work addresses Asian culture, music, food, travel, and Sapphic mail-in brides, please submit to us.  

If you know someone who is Asian & lesbian, please encourage them to submit their work to us. 

If you are Asian & lesbian, and your work does not deal with any of the above topics, desires, foie gras, martial arts, please submit to us regardless.

If you are Asian & lesbian, please submit poetry, visual art, comics, photographs, anime and films (screenshots only), interviews, academic anecdotes or notes, fiction, non-fiction, and genre-bending works to Sinister Wisdom through Submittable.

Images should .jpg or .tif files only, and be of print resolution, sized at least 300 ppi (pixels per inch). 

The deadline for submissions is June 30, 2019. The anticipated publication date for this issue is in 2020.

Guest Editor: Vi Khi Nao. Born in Long Khanh, Vietnam, Vi is the author of Sheep Machine (Black Sun Lit, 2018) and Umbilical Hospital (Press 1913, 2017), and of the short stories collection, A Brief Alphabet of Torture, which won FC2’s Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize in 2016, the novel, Fish in Exile (Coffee House Press, 2016), and the poetry collection, The Old Philosopher, which won the Nightboat Books Prize for Poetry in 2014 and is a finalist for a 2017 Lambda Literary Award.  Her work includes poetry, fiction, film and cross-genre collaboration. Her stories, poems, and drawings have appeared in NOON, Ploughshares, Black Warrior Review and BOMB, among others. She holds an MFA in fiction from Brown University.


We use three pieces of full-color visual art each year for the cover of the journal. We invite visual artists to submit .jpg or .gif files of their work for consideration through Submittable.

If your work is selected, you will have to provide us high-quality .tiff files to print the cover.

We print black and white images in the pages of the journal and invite artists to submit black and white images as .jpg or .gif files for consideration. Again, if work is selected, you will have to provide us with high-quality.tiff files to print inside the pages of the journal.

NOTE: Sinister Wisdom is filled for 2018 and 2019. You may continue to submit work - and we will continue to accept work, but it will be for publication in 2020 and beyond.

  Material may be in any style or form, or combination of forms.

  Maximum: five poems, two short stories or essays, OR one longer piece of up to 5,000 words.

  Please proofread your work carefully; do not send us changes after the deadline.

  Please send a short contributor biography between 25 and 125 words with your submission.

Sinister Wisdom