Ruth L. Hall, Department of Psychology, The College of New Jersey; Michelle Fine, Graduate School and University Center, City University of New York.
THE STORIES WE TELL: THE LIVES AND FRIENDSHIP OF TWO OLDER BLACK LESBIANS
Article first published online: 13 MAY 2005
Psychology of Women Quarterly
Volume 29, Issue 2, pages 177–187, June 2005
How to Cite
Hall, R. L. and Fine, M. (2005), THE STORIES WE TELL: THE LIVES AND FRIENDSHIP OF TWO OLDER BLACK LESBIANS. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 29: 177–187. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6402.2005.00180.x
- Issue published online: 13 MAY 2005
- Article first published online: 13 MAY 2005
- Initial submission: May 8, 2004 Initial acceptance: November 22, 2004 Final acceptance: January 5, 2005
Research addressing the lives and friendships of older Black lesbians is virtually nonexistent. Using narrative analysis, we chronicle the lives of two older Black lesbians (73 and 85 years of age) through the lens of positive marginality. The concept of positive marginality asserts that living both inside and outside of the mainstream produces strengths rather than helplessness (Mayo, 1982). We use four conceptual frames of reference to explore positive marginality: critical watching and reframing of life experiences on the margins, wise conversion of obstacles into opportunities, the subversion of social institutions, and the creation of safe spaces for people on the margin. From these two women's stories, we show how each, through lives of activism and seduction, created positive environments that defied traditional categories. We discuss how race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and aging affected their lives and how their friendship was an anchor for each. We offer their stories as a point of entry to future inquiry concerning older Black lesbians.