Announcing the Cunt-sciousness Raising Group, in Celebration of the Archives’ 50th Year

In honor of the Lesbian Herstory Archives’ 50th Anniversary, Archives Coordinator Alexis Clements is organizing and facilitating an intimate series of conversations in the spirit of a consciousness raising group.

Each week participants will be given a small set of readings to review in advance and then we’ll come together to talk about the readings and our lives. All meetings will start at 7pm:

  • Jan. 24 – Pre-1970s
  • Feb. 7 – 1970s
  • Feb. 21 – 1980s
  • Mar 6 – 1990s
  • Mar 20 – 2000s
  • Apr 3 – 2010s

To view the current list of planned readings (which may change), click here.

The Group / How to Express Interest in Participating

Out of a desire to reduce harm and take care of each other, the Archives is continuing to limit the number of people who can be present in the space at a given time, so the group will be limited to 15 participants, and all will be asked to mask while in the space.

Rather than take the first 15 people to sign up, the goal is to have those interested fill out this form (inspired by a 1972 consciousness raising group information sheet in our collection) to give us a sense of who they are, why they’d like to be part of the group, and to confirm that they can participate throughout the series: 

The idea is for the same group of 15 people to participate in every meeting, so if you know in advance that you cannot attend more than one meeting, please don’t fill out the form.

The intention is for this to be an intergenerational, multi-racial, and trans-inclusive conversation.


This event will be held on the first floor of the Lesbian Herstory Archives. There is an accessible bathroom and a wheelchair lift to facilitate entry into the building for wheelchair and mobility device users. If you have questions about accessibility for this event please email 

Suggested Donation

In honor of the Archives 50th year, we’d like to ask participants in this 6-event series to donate $50 (more if/less if) to contribute toward the operating costs for the Archives, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Why Isn’t This Online / Open to More People? Answer: Adapt the Model, Make it Your Own

We know it’s disappointing that we can’t host more people. Hosting hybrid events is wonderful when it’s the right fit for an event, but because of the intimate nature of the conversations we’ll be having, and in order to limit the demands on the facilitator during the events, this series will be in-person only.

That said, we STRONGLY encourage you to adapt this model. Use the reading list for this event, edit it, make your own series where you live or on the internet. The Archives, like many other LGBTQ+ spaces, started at a home, as a result of conversations among friends and comrades—you don’t need an organization to build community or start a conversation. You can start where you are with the people you have around you.

And if you organize your own version of the group, let us know about it!

Some Cunty Thoughts…

“Expression needs context. … It remains our charge to be able to distinguish between the feelings produced by, say, reading a scene in a novel in which someone berates a character by calling her a cunt, from stepping out into the street to get some milk and being called a cunt by a passerby, from a bunch of guys holding Tiki torches surrounding you chanting cunt, from being called a cunt in a sex game with your lover, from being called a cunt by your boss during a meeting, from seeing the word cunt spray-painted on a wall as you’re walking by, from calling your own cunt a cunt, from reading a paragraph like this one, and so on. It’s the homogenizing logic of paranoia that works overtime to flatten or disregard such differences; it’s the homogenizing logic of paranoia that demands that all people have the same response to them, and always will.”
-from Maggie Nelson’s On Freedom: Four Songs of Care and Constraint, p. 39-40

Below: Cover and contributor page from CUNT/PRICK Zine, published by Queer City Productions (San Francisco), circa 1991. From the Lesbian Herstory Archives Zine Collection.

2 responses to “Announcing the Cunt-sciousness Raising Group, in Celebration of the Archives’ 50th Year”

  1. Is it really too late for me to join the cuntsciousness raising group? I would so much like to, and would commit to every time though I missed the first! I’m 74 and was in my first consciousness-raising group in 1971. I’m a lesbian writer and teacher and looking to be less isolated. I can’t come to your craft night because I teach on that evening. Please make room for one more?

  2. Hi there. We had an overwhelming amount of interest in the group, far more people signed up than we could accommodate, and the group has already started (the first meeting was in late January), so we’re not able to add more people. Please do keep an eye out for other 50th anniversary events happening this year. This isn’t the only thing we’ll be doing to celebrate.

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