Radical Politics and Outlaw Passions Subject of Author Talk at Lavender Library

Marie Equi defied expectations. A daughter of working-class, immigrant parents, she became a physician and a fierce advocate for women, laborers and free speech.

The FBI branded her a dangerous agitator, but she didn’t back down. One of the first publicly known lesbians on the West Coast, Equi was maligned by the U.S. Government as “an unsexed woman” before sentencing her to San Quentin prison for protesting World War I.



Her story is now captured in the new book "Marie Equi: Radical Politics and Outlaw Passions," written by acclaimed journalist, historian, and activist Michael Helquist, and thanks to the Lavender Library you can learn more about this amazing woman and her achievements and meet Helquist at a reading from the book and discussion of her life.

Helquist is himself a bit of a radical, having worked in the anti-war, economic and social justice, AIDS, and LGBT movements since the 1970s. He lives with his husband in San Francisco.

Helquist tells the story of how Equi fought for women’s and worker’s rights, sometimes literally — she once horsewhipped a school superintendent for withholding her girlfriend’s full pay. In the course of her fiercely independent life, Equi provided birth control and abortions at a time when they were illegal and was one of the first people in a same-sex relationship to adopt a child.

"Marie Equi: Radical Politics and Outlaw Passions" was named a 2016 Stonewall Honor Book by the American Library Association and is available from your favorite bookstore or online; the eBook edition also available from major online retailers.

The reading and discussion will be held on July 21st from from 7 - 9 p.m. at the Lavender Library, 1414 21st St. Refreshments will be provided, and books will be available for purchase and signing. Metered street parking is available, along with a few free parking spots in the building’s small lot.

For more information, visit lavenderlibrary.com.

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