This thesis explores the possibilities of cross-generational oral history interviewing as a pedagogical tool for intergenerational conversation and broader historical understanding in queer communities. Through an analysis of the experiences of five younger queer women ages 19-30 who interviewed 15 older lesbians active in the lesbian feminist community in Vancouver during the 1970s and 80s, this research examines differences in identity formation and community building between these two ‘generational cohorts’. While lesbians in the 1970s and 80s created a vibrant and unprecedented culture and historical presence, few younger queer women are familiar with this history. This thesis argues that linear historical and generational thinking coupled with dominant heteronormative notions of kinship impacts queer communities, which tend to be uni-generational. These factors prevent or serve as barriers to cross-generational queer community building; prevent youth from knowing their connections to a shared queer history; and leave important legacies- such as lesbian feminism- in the forgotten past. This project disrupts these barriers to intergenerational connection and historical understanding and argues for the importance of re-examining the lesbian-feminist past.
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Thesis advisor: Chenier, Elise
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