Learning our lives: Lesbian existence and experience in Washington, D.C
This study uses twenty-three life story narratives from lesbians of diverse backgrounds living in Washington, D.C. during 1993 as a means of identifying and articulating some of the salient features of lesbian life experience. Excerpts from these narratives are presented in a series of six essays which address the pervasive themes the women I interviewed discussed while telling me their life stories. I present these narratives within historical context in order to address two facets of lesbian life. I examine lesbian existence (the phenomenon of women identifying as lesbian) as a social form within a context of inequality and contestation, and lesbian experience (the stories lesbians tell about themselves) as sites of struggle over meaning within that context. By using life story narratives as a primary means of data collection in this analysis, lesbians are given their own voice in the articulation of their personal existence and life experience.