Julia Penelope Stanley
June 19, 1941
|Died||January 19, 2013(aged 71)|
|Occupation||American author, linguist, academic, philosopher; LGBT and feminist activist|
Julia Penelope (June 19, 1941 – January 19, 2013) was an American linguist, author, and philosopher. She was part of an international movement of critical thinkers on lesbian and feminist issues. A self-described "white, working-class, fat butch dyke who never passed," she started what she called "rabble rousing" when she was a young woman.
Early life and education
In 1959, she was asked to leave Florida State University in Tallahassee because of her lesbianism. She transferred to the University of Miami, where, eight weeks later, investigations of the Charlie Johns Investigating Committee on Communism and Homosexuality led to her expulsion on the grounds of suspected lesbianism. She then earned a BA in English and linguistics from City College of New York in 1966, followed by graduate work at the University of Texas at Austin where she received a doctoral degree in English in 1971.
Her first teaching position was in Athens, Georgia in 1968. After receiving her doctorate she went on to teach for eleven years at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, where she was passed over for promotions because her research on lesbians was deemed "too narrow". She "was a separatist whose lesbian publications were often controversial, criticizing sadomasochism and other practices within lesbian communities." After relocating to Texas, she pursued a career as a freelance lexicographer, and a copy editor for commercial presses.
An activist and an organizer, Penelope attended the first conference of the Gay Academic Union in 1973 at the City College of New York. She was a delegate to the National Women's Conference in Houston in 1977, and she participated in the planning meetings that led to the founding of the Lesbian Herstory Archives. She founded several activist groups, including the "Lincoln Legion of Lesbians" and "Lesbians for Lesbians." She was one of the first scholars to teach women's studies courses, including Twentieth-Century Lesbian Novels and Feminist Literary Criticism.
Penelope insisted on lesbian visibility in the academy, bringing Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, Mary Daly, Pat Parker, Chrystos and others to the University of Nebraska. She encouraged Catherine Nicholson and Harriet Desmoines to bring the lesbian-feminist journal Sinister Wisdom to Lincoln. In 1977, at the Modern Language Association (MLA) convention in Chicago, she organized the "Lesbian Languages and Literatures" panel with Daly, Lorde, Judith McDaniel, and Adrienne Rich as speakers.
In 1988, she co-edited with Sarah Lucia Hoagland the first anthology on lesbian separatism, For Lesbians Only: A Separatist Anthology. As a lesbian separatist, Penelope was controversial among lesbians. According to her biography in Lesbian Histories and Cultures: An Encyclopedia (2000), she became disheartened by lesbian infighting and withdrew from lesbian writing.
She helped found the Lubbock County Green Party, and ran for Congress in 2003 as a Green candidate in Texas's 19th congressional district special election. Her platform emphasized environmental protection and opposition to war with Iraq as well as support for human rights.
For a brief period of her life, Penelope was open about being a kept butch, "(a butch who is supported by another woman, often, but not always, a prostitute, a call girl, or the mistress of a wealthy man)".
She eventually settled in Lubbock, Texas.
Julia Penelope, aged 71, died on January 19, 2013 in Texas.
- Penelope, Julia; Wolfe, Susan (1980). The coming out stories. ISBN 9780930436032.
- Penelope, Julia; Hoagland, Sarah Lucia (1980). "Lesbianism, sexuality and power: the patriarchy, violence and pornography". Sinister Wisdom. Amherst, Massachusetts. 15. OCLC 70961358.
- Penelope, Julia; Hoagland, Sarah Lucia (1988). For lesbians only: a separatist anthology. London: Onlywomen Press Ltd. ISBN 9780906500286.
- Penelope, Julia; Wolfe, Susan (1989). The original coming out stories. ISBN 9780895943392.
- Penelope, Julia (author); Grey, Morgan (author); Bechdel, Alison (illustrator) (1989). Found goddesses: Asphalta to Viscera. ISBN 9780934678186.
- Penelope, Julia; Valentine, Sarah (1990). Finding the lesbians. ISBN 9780895944276.
- Penelope, Julia (1990). Speaking freely: unlearning the lies of the fathers' tongues. ISBN 9780807762448.
- Penelope, Julia (1992). International feminist fiction. ISBN 9780895945679.
- Penelope, Julia (1992). Call me lesbian: lesbian lives, lesbian theory. ISBN 9780895944962.
- Penelope, Julia; Wolfe, Susan (1993). Sexual practice/textual theory: lesbian cultural criticism. ISBN 9781557861016.
- Penelope, Julia; Wolfe, Susan (1993). Lesbian culture: an anthology. ISBN 9780895945914.
- Penelope, Julia (1994). Out of the class closet: lesbian speak. ISBN 9780895947048.
- Penelope, Julia (1995). Crossword puzzles for women. ISBN 9780895947918.
- Penelope, Julia (1998). Flinging wide the eyed universe: Poems by Julia Penelope. ISBN 9781884540349.
- Brownworth, Victoria (February 1, 2013). "In Remembrance: Julia Penelope, Lesbian Theorist". Lambda Literary Foundation. Archived from the original on October 22, 2018. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
- "Julia Penelope". OurCampaigns. June 18, 2004. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
- Zimmerman, Bonnie, ed. (2000). "Penelope, Julia by Susan J. Wolfe". Lesbian Histories and Cultures: An Encyclopedia. 1 (Encyclopedia of Lesbian and Gay Histories and Cultures) (1st ed.). Garland Publishing. pp. 577–578. ISBN 0-8153-1920-7.
- Baim, Tracy (January 24, 2013). "PASSAGES Author Julia Penelope dead at 71". Windy City Times. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
- Ring, Trudy (January 24, 2013). "Lesbian Author-Scholar Julia Penelope Dead at 71". The Advocate. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
- Julia Penelope Papers, ca. 1986-1999 at Rubenstein Library, Duke University Libraries
- Julia Penelope research files on the Language of the Homosexual Community study at Yale University Library, Manuscripts and Archives Repository
- Julia Penelope at Lesbian Poetry Archive
- Julia Penelope at Library of Congress
- Julia Penelope at LibraryThing
- Lesbiana - A Parallel Revolution by Myriam Fougère at Vimeo