LGBT History Month
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Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde Audre Lorde is a gift. She burst into my life with her Novel ‘Zami a new way to spell my name’. I read it in a night in my squat in Brixton back in 82. I constantly marvelled at the way she described her emotions and reactions, they were mine I chimed with her! I was stunned she was black, a mother born in Harlem in 1924 now identified as a Black lesbian, mother, warrior, poet. I, on the other hand, was born in 47, white, lesbian, middle class non mother, sometime poet, true, and certainly a campaigner if not a warrior, but the joy of the recognition of her experience was just wonderful. I was way past thinking I was the only one, in 82 I had been out for 12 years and been active both in London and Sydney Australia in the lesbian and gay movement as it was then and the women’s movement. It was the detail, the insight of oppression and patriarchy, the joy in life, and the pain that kept me up that night. Her language flowed, her poetry and her life was inspirational. In checking my facts for this article I discovered that she was editor of the lesbian journal Chrysalis, I don’t consciously remember that but I named the team of trainers I work with Chrysalis! The fierceness and skill with which she challenged racism and patriarchy was ferocious. Her battle with cancer was a long one, and one she documented. I reread her Cancer Journals while I was dealing with my best friend’s breast cancer that took her life and found useful knowledge and solace.

I met Audre once and found myself stumbling out the usual "Oh I am so excited to meet you". "What is your name?" she said as she took my hand to shook, staring deep into my soul, she grounded me and we had a reasonable conversation women to women. I bless her existence and her work, she has been a mentor and guide.

Sue Sanders, London

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