We interviewed Jeanne Cordova at her home in LA during our first stint of filming for the Women & Film Project in October 2013. We never knew what to expect with our interviewees: would we accidentally dredge up painful memories; would I cause offence with my blundering amateurishness as an interviewer? But meeting Jeanne was like meeting a friend. She was laid back, she was already on our side.
Although Jeanne didn’t write for Women & Film, we wanted to talk to her because her experiences represented a kind of parallel to the magazine. I knew from her book, When We Were Outlaws, that she’d been very much a part of the radical political and cultural LA scene. She was a feminist, an anti-war demonstrator, a gay rights activist, a chicana; she’d written about hanging out in women-only saloons, going on marches, writing for the LA Free Press and the pros and cons of militant political struggle. And she’d founded her own a magazine, The Lesbian Tide, around the same time that Women & Film was coming into existence.
Her interview gave us a fantastic insight into living through those times and a career committed to political activism through words AND deeds. She and her partner Lynn welcomed us into their home, made us feel that the project was worthwhile, and fired us up to continue. We are very grateful we got to meet her and that she so generously shared some of her stories with us.
Read Jeanne’s ‘A Letter about Dying, to my Lesbian Communites’ on her website.