chapter  3
“A weekend wasn’t a weekend if there wasn’t a fight”: The Tough Bar Lesbians of the 1950s
Pages 46

Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold traces the roots of gay and lesbian liberation to the resistance culture of working-class lesbians. Butch-fem roles coalesced an entire culture into the prepolitical, but none the less active, struggle against gay and lesbian oppression. Working-class lesbians had a key role in shaping their history, transforming their social life, sexual expression, relationships, and identity. Growing solidarity and related feelings of pride created by the tradition of lesbians acting together to build community were key for the developments of the 1950s. Butch-fem roles continued to be integral to the growth of lesbian culture particularly for the tough rebellious lesbians, both white and Black. In general the Butch role was more consistent with persistent lesbian identity and behavior, and the feminine role with more fluid lesbian identity and behavior, but this was not always the case.