Joan Nestle

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Joan Nestle (born May 12, 1940) is a Lambda Award winning writer and editor and the co-founder of the Lesbian Herstory Archives.


Nestle's father died before she was born, and she was raised by her widowed mother Regina Nestle, a bookkeeper in New York City's garment district, whom she credits with inspiring her "belief in a woman's undeniable right to enjoy sex". She attended Martin Van Buren High School in Queens and received her B.A. from Queens College in 1963. During the mid-1960s she became involved in the African-American Civil Rights Movement, travelling to the Southern United States to join the Selma to Montgomery march and to participate in voter registration drives. She earned a Master's degree in English from New York University in 1968 and worked toward a doctorate for two years before returning to Queens College to teach. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center (2007). Farmington Hills, Mich.: Thomson Gale.

Nestle had been part of the working-class, butch and femme bar culture of New York City since the late 1950s. In an interview with Ripe Magazine, she recalled that the center of her social life as a young lesbian was a bar called the Sea Colony, which, typically for the time, was run by organized crime and that, in an attempt to avoid raids by the vice squad, allowed only...
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