Amber L. Hollibaugh

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Amber L. Hollibaugh (born 1946) is an American writer, filmmaker and political activist, largely concerned with feminist and sexual agendas.

Career and writings[edit]

Hollibaugh is the daughter of a Romany father of Spanish descent and an Irish mother.[1] 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).

Hollibaugh is the former 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 (Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders) (SAGE), a New York program dedicated to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender senior education, advocacy, and community organizing.[4]

In 1970, Hollibaugh was a leader in the Canadian movement for abortion rights.[5] In 1978, she was a co-founder 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. Hollibaugh 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]

Hollibaugh was the director and co-producer 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, Hollibaugh argued that American liberalism was in disarray, but was 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, Jenrose 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 Hollibaugh's writings on sexuality, she has declared that "there is no human hope without the promise of ecstasy."[14]

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

In 2012, Hollibaugh received the Vicki Sexual Freedom Award from the Woodhull Freedom Foundation.[16]



  • Hollibaugh, Amber (2000). My dangerous desires: a queer girl dreaming her way home. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press. ISBN 9780822326250.

Articles and essays[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Crimp, Douglas (Winter 1987). "The second epidemic". October. 43: 127–142. doi:10.2307/3397568. JSTOR 3397568. Amber Hollibaugh; Mitchell Karp; and Katy Taylor interviewed by Douglas Crimp.


  1. ^ Anderson, Kelly. "Amber Hollibaugh Interview" (PDF). Voices of Feminism Oral History Project. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
  2. ^ "Duke University Press website". October 29, 2012. Archived from the original on December 2, 2013. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
  3. ^ See "Amber Hollibaugh" retrieved 5-25-2012 Archived June 3, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  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. 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. ISBN 9780896085497.
  10. ^ Nancy L. Roth; Katie Hogan (1998). Gendered Epidemic: Representations of Women in the Age of AIDS. Psychology Press. p. 212. ISBN 9780415917858.
  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, (January 2001) Vol. 18, No. 4 pp. 13–14 in JSTOR
  16. ^ "Vicki Award Recipient List".