cover of book

Lesbian Death: Desire and Danger between Feminist and Queer
by Mairead Sullivan
University of Minnesota Press, 2022
Cloth: 978-1-5179-1001-3 | eISBN: 978-1-4529-6440-9 | Paper: 978-1-5179-1002-0
Library of Congress Classification HQ75.5
Dewey Decimal Classification 306.7663


Engaging with fears of lesbian death to explore the value of lesbian beyond identity

The loss of lesbian spaces, as well as ideas of the lesbian as anachronistic has called into question the place of lesbian identity within our current culture. In Lesbian Death, Mairead Sullivan probes the perception that lesbian status is in retreat, exploring the political promises—and especially the failures—of lesbian feminism and its usefulness today. 

Lesbian Death reads how lesbian is conceptualized in relation to death from the 1970s onward to argue that lesbian offers disruptive potential. Lesbian Death examines the rise of lesbian breast cancer activism in San Francisco in conversation with ACT UP, the lesbian separatist manifestos “The C.L.I.T. Papers,” the enduring specter of lesbian bed death, and the weaponization of lesbian identity against trans lives. 

By situating the lesbian as a border figure between feminist and queer, Lesbian Death offers a fresh perspective on the value of lesbian for both feminist and queer projects, even if her value is her death. 

See other books on: Death | Desire | Identity | Lesbian Studies | Lesbians
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