Establishing a Hungarian lesbian herstory archive
In the last couple of years, Hungarian lesbian association Labrisz has worked to construct a lesbian herstory archive, including primary documents, photos, articles, books, fliers, videos, oral history interviews, and organizational materials. My illustrated presentation introduces some highlights of the available traces of twentieth-century Hungarian lesbian herstory, with its diverse shades of Boston marriages, passing women, married women’s same-sex friendships and sublimated attractions, objects of psychiatric explorations and tabloid press articles, and the more self-identified public figures and personal stories of post-war Hungary. The paper touches upon the question of how the social and political circumstances influenced the life, visibility, and self-identification of women with same-sex desires in different historical periods and how their relationships and communities developed. It also attempts to explore which ways the (fragmented) visual and written resources can be informative (or misleading) in researching lesbian herstory.
Anna Borgos is a psychologist and women’s historian; she is a fellow at the Institute of Psychology, Budapest. She is exploring the life and oeuvre of Hungarian women intellectuals of the early 20th century and lesbian herstory. She is a founding member of Labrisz Lesbian Association. Her last book, Nemek között. Nőtörténet, szexualitástörténet (Between the Sexes. Women’s History, Sexuality-History) came out in 2013. She also co-edited a volume of lesbian autobiographical writings, Előhívott önarcképek (Developed Self-Portraits) and a volume of interviews with elderly Hungarian lesbians, Eltitkolt évek (Secret Years). With Judit Takács, she co-edited a special issue of Journal of Lesbian Studies in 2011 (“Voicing Women from Eastern Europe”).
Labrisz Lesbian Association
Labrisz Lesbian Association was founded in 1999. As the first and so far the only lesbian association in Hungary, it works to create a society in which women have the opportunity to freely choose their partners and their lifestyles and to confidently express their identity without fear in every sphere of their lives. The main goal of Labrisz is to strengthen the self-acceptance and visibility of lesbian and bisexual women and to create a discourse with society through cultural and community events, publications, and a school program. We also seek to facilitate the discovery, cultivation, and promotion of lesbian culture.
Labrisz website: www.labrisz.hu
Labrisz Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LabriszEgyesulet/
Anna will be speaking on day 3 of the conference