“Game Changers” Aims to Bring Lesbian History to Public Schools

“I know there are several resources about amazing gay men and all the work they have done,” Robin told GO, “but I wanted to make sure there were some interesting resources available specifically about the lesbians.”

Writer, editor and graphic designer Robin Lowey is working on a very personal project that she hopes will infiltrate California’s libraries and public schools. “Game Changers: 20 Lesbians You Should Know About” (“a colorful resource book about lesbians who made significant contributions to LGBTQ culture.”) was partly inspired by the FAIR Act, which requires the inclusion of LGBT History and Social Studies in the California public school curriculum.

“I know there are several resources about amazing gay men and all the work they have done,” Robin told GO, “but I wanted to make sure there were some interesting resources available specifically about the lesbians.”

A mother to two teenage sons, Robin was frustrated with the amount of homophobia she saw in their school environments, and it also gave her the push into publishing the interactive “Game Changers,” which is raising finishing funds in an IndieGogo campaign.

“This is a labor of love,” Robin said, “and an effort to get an important book that features my take on some prominent lesbians in the hands of the public school students.”

She cites ally Lindsey Schlax (“the creator of the first high school LGBT class in San Francisco”) as a supporter.

“She assured me that this is a perfect book for her library and very much needed,” Robin said. “Interestingly, she is not a lesbian but said that she couldn’t have gotten [her LGBT studies class] off the ground if she had been gay. There are now five public high schools in San Francisco using the curriculum she developed! It’s clear that our allies will make the difference in the end.”

Robin, who runs a website called Epochalips (“Smart lesbian commentary”), said she started with the women she had direct connections with.

“And then I began reaching out to others who were part of my extended network,” she said. “This is really my personal take on 20 women I believe stories should be shared.”

Each game changer has to be over the age of 50, someone who came out earlier in their lives, and “contributed in some big way to lesbian culture.” Among those featured include The Dinah founder Mariah Hanson, novelist/poet/playwright Jewelle Gomez and writer/performer Monica Palacios.

“I’ve been dedicated to including as many women of color as possible and that has been more challenging than I first realized,” Robin said. “Obviously, it was not a level playing field for women of color to come out early and be as successful creating lesbian culture as their white sisters. But I found some good ones, and I’m excited that this is a very inclusive book.”

“Game Changers” won’t be a typical history book—it comes with game cards, photos, illustrations and timelines—and it’s also not just for LGBTQ students;  Robin hopes it will also reach and educate those who are unfamiliar with the community and its rich, varied history.

“A lot of people have expressed strong opinions about who they think should or shouldn’t be included. I try not to take it to heart that my choices don’t meet everyone’s approval,” Robin said. “Plus, when this is a success, there will be many more volumes—different age groups, trans, etc. are possibilities.”

Visit the “Game Changers: 20 Lesbians You Should Know About” IndieGogo Campaign.