I’ve been reading Susie Bright since she published a kinky lesbian porn mag, back in the pre-internet era when “computer porn” meant dialing up to a BBS and watching a dirty picture appear on your screen line by weary line at (if you were rich and lucky) 14400 baud.

When I first encountered her On Our Backs magazine, I was newly arrived in San Francisco and I was just looking for porn. San Francisco: “Porn, we haz it.” But why was I reading Susie Bright’s lesbian porn mag?

Because then, as now, she was a voice for sexual freedom. It didn’t matter if her subject matter (lesbian stuff) didn’t have much (any) intersection with my life. And that “not mattering” is one of those things that never change. Here’s Susie, writing about a new movie I hadn’t heard about, about a band I never heard of, and a cultural scene I never knew existed, but making the whole thing worthwhile anyway because she’s (still) really writing about sexual freedom:

Let me make something clear that the movie only hints at: The Runaways band would not have happened, could not have been conceived, without the Underground Dyke Punk Groupie Slut culture that stretched from the San Fernando Valley to the bowels of Orange County.

What is wrong with saying that? Do dykes never get to claim anything? Is the historical lens going to stay coated with Vaseline and excuses FOREVER?

I’ll tell you why dyke rock’n’roll legacy is important. Because in order to stand up to the shitheads who tried to keep young women out of EVERYTHING, you had to NOT GIVE A SHIT ABOUT THEIR SEXUAL APPROVAL.

You had to NOT want to get married and have babies with a nice boy. You had to be FINISHED with “virtue.”

We did not care if the guys called us “sluts” and accused us of “wishing you had a dick.” We were beyond wishing; we did whatever we wanted.

A lesbian in the ’70s was thought of as someone involved in mainstream feminist politics or the folky Back-to-the-Land milieu. Most girls I knew in the punk scene couldn’t relate to that, or thought of it as their mother’s trip. We were urban, we were not into politics as usual. Everyone called themselves “bi,” although that was really code for: don’t tell me what to do.

My favorite lines in the piece, though, are these:

The Democratic Party lesbians took one look at my lipstick and leather and flipped out. “You are a slut! You are an operative of pimps and pornographers! The S/M white slavers are controlling you!”

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