Amber L. Hollibaugh

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Amber L. Hollibaugh (born 1946) is the daughter of a Romany father of Spanish descent and an Irish mother.[1] She is an American writer, film-maker and political activist. According to her publisher's website, "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."[2] She is currently the Interim Executive Director of New York's Queers for Economic Justice (QEJ). Formerly she was Chief Officer of Elder & LBTI Women’s Services at Howard Brown Health Center in Chicago.[3] She has been director of education, advocacy and community building at SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders), a New York program dedicated to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender senior education, advocacy, and community organizing.[4]

Career and writings[edit]

In 1970 Hollibaugh was a leader in the Canadian movement for abortion rights.[5] In 1978 she was a cofounder with Allan Bérubé and others of the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay History Project.[6] In 1982 she was a speaker at the 1982 Barnard Conference on Sexuality, a key event in what became known as the Feminist Sex Wars. She has written on the marginalization she experienced afterwards as a result of being a former sex worker and her involvement in the sadomasochism community.[7]

She was the director and coproducer with Gini Reticker of "The Heart of the Matter," a 60-minute documentary film about the confusing messages women students receive about sexuality and sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS.[8] The film won the 1994 Sundance Film Festival Freedom of Expression Award; it premiered to a national audience on PBS.[9][10]

In the 1990s she argued that that American liberalism is in disarray, but is looking to the Left for guidance in how to reshape itself.[11] Stafford has analyzed her memoir My Dangerous Desires (2000) in terms of femme lesbian narratives.[12]

In 2002, Fitzgerald discussed Hollibaugh and Singh's 1999 essay "Sexuality, Labor, and the New Trade Unionism," in Social Text, . Fitzgerald says that their presentation of the relationship between sexual politics and the labor movement proposed a labor movement "that will take on immigration issues, racism, health care, and the nuances of economic inequality alongside more mainstream labor and 'gay rights' concerns."[13]

In her writings on sexuality she has declared that "there is no human hope without the promise of ecstasy."[14]

Altman says that Hollibaugh is "a powerful organizing speaker, a very fine incisive writer and a brilliant theorist."[15]



  • Hollibaugh, Amber L. My Dangerous Desires: A Queer Girl Dreaming Her Way Home (Duke University Press, 2000)
    • Review: Altman, Meryl. "Sexual Politics," The Women's Review of Books, (Jan. 2001) Vol. 18, No. 4 pp. 13–14 in JSTOR
    • Review: Craig, Alisa. "My Dangerous Desires: A Queer Girl Dreaming Her Way Home.(Book Review)", Archives of Sexual Behavior (October, 2003) online
    • Review: Kramp, Michael. "Amber L. Hollibaugh. My Dangerous Desires: A Queer Girl Dreaming Her Way Home" Rocky Mountain Review (Spring 2002) Volume 56, Number 1 online version
    • Review: Millard, Elizabeth. "My Dangerous Desires: A Queer Girl Dreaming Her Way Home by Amber L. Hollibaugh" ForeWorld Reviews (2001) online version

Articles and essays[edit]

  • Hollibaugh, Amber, Mitchell Karp, and Katy Taylor; interviewed by Douglas Crimp. "The Second Epidemic," in AIDS: Cultural Analysis, Cultural Activism vol. 43, pp 127–42. (Winter, 1987) in JSTOR
  • Hollibaugh, Amber, and Cherríe Moraga. "What We're Rollin Around in Bed With: Sexual Silences in Feminism." in Powers of Desire: The Politics of Sexuality (Monthly Review Press, 1983) ed. by Ann Snitow, Christine Stansell, and Sharon Thompson. pp 394–405.
  • Hollibaugh, Amber, and Nikhil Pal Singh. "Sexuality, Labor, and the New Trade Unionism," Social Text, (Winter, 1999) No. 61, pp. 73–88 in JSTOR
  • Hollibaugh, Amber. "Sex to Gender, Past to Present, Race to Class, Now to Future," GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies (2004) Volume 10, Number 2, pp. 261–265 online at Project MUSE
  • Deirdre English, Amber Hollibaugh, and Gayle Rubin, "Talking Sex: A Conversation on Sexuality and Feminism," Feminist Review (June 1982) vol 11


  1. ^ Anderson, Kelly. "Amber Hollibaugh Interview". Voices of Feminism Oral History Project. Retrieved Feb 2013. 
  2. ^ "Duke University Press website". 2012-10-29. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  3. ^ See "Amber Hollibaugh" retrieved 5-25-2012
  4. ^ GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies (2004) 10#2 pp 313-316
  5. ^ Christabelle Sethna and Steve Hewitt, "Clandestine Operations: The Vancouver Women’s Caucus, the Abortion Caravan, and the RCMP," The Canadian Historical Review (September 2009) Volume 90, Number 3, pp 463-95
  6. ^ Jeffrey Weeks, "Allan Bérubé (1946-2007)," History Workshop Journal (Spring 2010) Issue 69, p 295
  7. ^ Basiliere, Jennifer Lynn (2008). Bypassing Binaries: Towards a Feminist Politics of Transgression. ProQuest. p. 39. ISBN 9780549561484. 
  8. ^ Sharon Gmelch, et al. Gender on Campus: Issues for College Women (Rutgers University Press, 1998) p. 197.
  9. ^ Ephen Glenn Colter; Dangerous Bedfellows (1996). Policing Public Sex: Queer Politics And the Future of AIDS Activism. South End Press. pp. 402–3. 
  10. ^ Nancy L. Roth; Katie Hogan (1998). Gendered Epidemic: Representations of Women in the Age of AIDS. Psychology Press. p. 212. 
  11. ^ Eliza Jane Reilly, "Liberalism and the Left: Rethinking the Relationship," Radical History Review (Spring 1998), Issue 71, pp3-5
  12. ^ Anika Stafford, "'Uncompromising Positions: Reiterations of Misogyny Embedded in Lesbian and Feminist Communities' Framing of Lesbian Femme Identities," Atlantis 2010, Vol. 35 Issue 1, pp 81-91.
  13. ^ Jenrose Fitzgerald, "Querying Sexual Economy: The Cultural Politics of Sexuality and Class in the United States," American Quarterly (2002) 54#2 pp 349-357
  14. ^ Cited in Iain Morland, "What Can Queer Theory Do for Intersex?," GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies Volume 15, Number 2, 2009 p 303
  15. ^ Meryl Altman, "Sexual Politics," The Women's Review of Books, (Jan. 2001) Vol. 18, No. 4 pp. 13-14 in JSTOR