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Celebrating the Journalism Accomplishments of Jeanne Cordova

To mark the arrival of her newest memoir When We Were Outlaws, storied lesbian writer and activist Jeanne Cordova chatted with Windy City Times reporter Sarah Toce about some of the book’s highlights. What a long and remarkable life’s journey it has been.

On the journalism front, it all started in 1971 with the launch of groundbreaking LA magazine The Lesbian Tide. Most of the time, the publication was powered by donated, like-minded labor. During this time, Cordova also became the human-rights editor at progressive newspaper the LA Free Press:

“I was first hired as The Freep’s token ‘Chicana, feminist, lesbian’ columnist. My weekly essays became know as ‘that dyke column’ by the largely straight readership, but it got people listening to my voice as I covered the [1973] Battle of the Sexes, the famous tennis match between female (and closeted lesbian) tennis player Billie Jean King and male tennis star, Charlie Riggs,” said Cordova.

As her politics became better known, she moved into the investigative reporter role and began editing all of the human rights stories for the paper. “In this position I became an integral, full-time, staff member and covered big stories of the day like the kidnapping and capture of Patty Hearst by the leftist urban guerrilla group, the Symbionese Liberation Army,” she said. “[The book] Outlaws covers the in-depth stories of five or six of my most interesting adventures with Angela Davis, Nazi terrorists, and secret meetings with underground FBI fugitives.”

For those unfamiliar with the incredible life and career of Cordova, there is also her detailed official website. Upcoming book signing events include one scheduled for July 15 in West Hollywood.

To read the full Windy City Times interview, click here.

Update – 06/06/12: Per Long Beach Press-Telegram reporter Phillip Zonkel, Cordova’s latest memoir won Best Lesbian Memoir-Biography at the 24th Annual Lambda Literary Awards in New York City.

[Photo courtesy jeannecordova.com]

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