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Amber L. Hollibaugh (born June 20, 1946) is the daughter of a Romany father of Spanish descent and an Irish mother. She is an American writer, film-maker and political activist. She is in a relationship with Jenifer Levin. The dedica of Hollibaugh's My Dangerous Desires: A Queer Girl Dreaming Her Way Home (2000) read: "To Jenifer Levin, who found me in a dark hospital room and captured my heart".

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." She is currently the Interim Executive Director of New York's Queers for Economic Justice (QEJ). Formerly she was Chief Officer of Elder & LBTI Women’s Services at Howard Brown Health Center in Chicago. She has been director of education, advocacy and community building at SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders), a New York program dedicated to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender senior education, advocacy, and community organizing. (Picture: Jenifer Levin)

In 1970 Hollibaugh was a leader in the Canadian movement for abortion rights. In 1978 she was a cofounder with Allan Bérubé and others of the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay History Project. 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. She has written on the marginalization she experienced afterwards as a result of being a former sex worker and her involvement in the sadomasochism community.

She was the director and coproducer 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. The film won the 1994 Sundance Film Festival Freedom of Expression Award; it premiered to a national audience on PBS.

Amber L. Hollibaugh & Jenifer Levin

In the 1990s she argued that that American liberalism is in disarray, but is looking to the Left for guidance in how to reshape itself. Stafford has analyzed her memoir My Dangerous Desires (2000) in terms of femme lesbian narratives.

In 2002, Fitzgerald discussed Hollibaugh and Singh's 1999 essay "Sexuality, Labor, and the New Trade Unionism," in Social Text, . Fitzgerald says that ttheir 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."

In her writings on sexuality she has declared that "there is no human hope without the promise of ecstasy."

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

Jenifer Levin is an American fiction writer, noted for her contributions to lesbian fiction. As well as writing fiction, she has contributed to the New York Times and Washington Post. The Washington Post called her a member of the "lesbian literati".

Levin, herself a former competitive swimmer, has set many of her novels in the world of competitive sport, receiving attention for her coverage of gender, power, and sexuality in that context. Her first novel was Water Dancer, the tale of a long-distance swimmer recovering from a nervous breakdown, whose trainer and his wife both fall in love with her. The New York Times noted that Levin involved her readers successfully in "an odd world", but criticized the characters' depth and the lack of resolution to their difficulties. Levin is Jewish. Her third novel, Shimoni's Lover, was set in Israel. In 1993 she produced The Sea of Light, which the Dallas Morning News called "beautiful and probing." The Sea of Light was voted 8th in a Bywater Books (a lesbian publisher) poll of the ten most important lesbian novels of the 20th century. Her fifth published book, Love and Death and Other Disasters, collected stories written over a period between 1977 and 1995.

Levin has two sons, adopted from Cambodia. She has spoken several times of her experiences adopting as a single gay woman, from a country that does not formally allow foreign adoptions, including in a 1995 volume Wanting a Child edited by Jill Bialosky and Helen Shulman.


Further Readings:

My Dangerous Desires: A Queer Girl Dreaming Her Way Home (Series Q) by Amber L. Hollibaugh (
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Duke University Press Books; First Edition edition (November 10, 2000)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0822326191
ISBN-13: 978-0822326199
Amazon: My Dangerous Desires: A Queer Girl Dreaming Her Way Home

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. My Dangerous Desires presents over twenty years of Hollibaugh’s writing, an introduction written especially for this book, and five new essays including “A Queer Girl Dreaming Her Way Home,” “My Dangerous Desires,” and “Sexuality, Labor, and the New Trade Unionism.”
In looking at themes such as the relationship between activism and desire or how sexuality can be intimately tied to one’s class identity, Hollibaugh fiercely and fearlessly analyzes her own political development as a response to her unique personal history. She explores the concept of labeling and the associated issues of categories such as butch or femme, transgender, bisexual, top or bottom, drag queen, b-girl, or drag king. The volume includes conversations with other writers, such as Deirdre English, Gayle Rubin, Jewelle Gomez, and Cherríe Moraga. From the groundbreaking article “What We’re Rollin’ Around in Bed With” to the radical “Sex Work Notes: Some Tensions of a Former Whore and a Practicing Feminist,” Hollibaugh charges ahead to describe her reality, never flinching from the truth. Dorothy Allison’s moving foreword pays tribute to a life lived in struggle by a working-class lesbian who, like herself, refuses to suppress her dangerous desires.
Having informed many of the debates that have become central to gay and lesbian activism, Hollibaugh’s work challenges her readers to speak, write, and record their desires—especially, perhaps, the most dangerous of them—“in order for us all to survive.”

More Particular Voices at my website:, My Ramblings/Particular Voices

More LGBT Couples at my website:, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance


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