15 – Trying to Find the Words to Tell You: Three Femmes of Wisdom, Hearts of Gold – Niki Paul

Niki Paul
Trying to Find the Words to Tell You: Three Femmes of Wisdom, Hearts of Gold
Wood, Cloth, Acrylic
Inquire; Proceeds to be donated to the Lesbian Herstory Archives

This piece is my offering to three femme identified queer lesbians who have helped shape modern queer femme literature and have continued to live lives full of integrity. I did not have many words for naming my deep desires as a baby femme dyke in a small town. Amber Hollibaugh, Joan Nestle and Minnie Bruce Pratt gifted pages and pages of stories of steamy sex with hot butch lovers, the struggle towards liberation, the strength of queer family, epic love and devastating loss. I am forever grateful for their shared wisdom, stunning beauty and hearts of solid femme gold.

Amber L. Hollibaugh is a “lesbian sex radical, ex-hooker, incest survivor, gypsy child, poor-white-trash, high femme dyke. She is also an award-winning filmmaker, feminist, Left political organizer, public speaker, and journalist”. She is the co-founder of the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay History Project, served as interim Executive Director for Queers for Economic Justice and has published a memoir, My Dangerous Desires: A Queer Girl Dreaming Her Way Home.

Joan Nestle is a Lambda Award winning writer and editor and the co-founder of the Lesbian Herstory Archives. She is openly gay and sees her work of archiving history as critical to her identity as “a woman, as a lesbian, and as a Jew.” Joan has published and edited numerous writings including A Restricted Country, The Persistent Desire: A Femme Butch Reader and A Fragile Union: New and Collected Writings.

Minnie Bruce Pratt is an acknowledged poet, essayist, activist, lesbian-feminist, and educator. her writings include S/he; The Dirt She Ate; and Yours in Struggle: Three Feminist Perspectives on Anti-Semitism and Racism. She is the beloved partner of the late transgender lesbian communist activist and writer, Leslie Feinberg.


Niki Paul is a femme dyke witch in wild love and gratitude with the vast exquisite queer herstories that bring magic and beauty to the world in which we live.