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andrea geyer




If I told her. 2017. Oak ladder, horsehair, 120 x 22 inches.









If I told her is inspired by the magazine “The Ladder” published by the Daughters of Bilitis. Published from October 1956 till 1970 “The Ladder” was the first nationally distributed lesbian publication in the U.S.

The Daughter of Bilitis described themselves as "A Woman's Organization for the purpose of Promoting the Integration of the Homosexual into Society." Their mission statement in four parts was printed on the inside of the cover “The Ladder” of every issue:

Education of the variant(1)...to enable her to understand herself and make her adjustment to society...this to be accomplished by establishing...a library...on the sex deviant theme; by sponsoring public discussions...to be conducted by leading members of the legal psychiatric, religious and other professions; by advocating a mode of behavior and dress acceptable to society.

Education of the public...leading to an eventual breakdown of erroneous taboos and prejudices...

Participation in research projects by duly authorized and responsible psychologists, sociologists, and other such experts directed towards further knowledge of the homosexual.

Investigation of the penal code as it pertain to the homosexual, proposal of changes,...and promotion of these changes through the due process of law in the state legislatures.



1. New York chapter president Barbara Gittings noted that the word "variant" was used instead of "lesbian" in the mission statement, because "lesbian" was a word that had a very negative meaning in 1956.