Faderman was raised by her mother, Mary, and her aunt, Rae. In 1923, the two emigrated from a shtetl in Latvia to the lower east side of Manhattan, hoping to marry well enough to pay for their sisters and brothers to join them in the United States. The plan was unsuccessful; the rest of the family was killed during Hitler's extermination of European Jews, and Mary blamed herself for not sending enough money to rescue them. Her guilt contributed to a serious mental illness that would profoundly affect her daughter.
Mary and Rae, Faderman's mother and aunt, worked in the garment industry for very little money. Lillian was her mother's third pregnancy; her mother aborted the first two pregnancies at her father's request, but insisted on bearing and raising the third. Mary remarried when Lillian was a teenager and died in 1979, continuing to have a profound influence on her daughter’s life.
The family moved to Los Angeles, where with her mother’s encouragement Lillian took acting classes. She began modeling as a teenager, discovered the gay bar scene and met her first girlfriend. Before she graduated from high school, she married a gay man much older than herself, a marriage which lasted less than a year and was mainly done at the insistence of her mother and aunt.
Courtesy of Phyllis Irwin. Lillian and Phyllis when they were married at the San Diego County Courthouse in 2008 (©15)
Lillian Faderman (born July 18, 1940) is a scholar whose books on lesbian relationships and romantic friendship in history have earned critical praise and awards. Faderman is a professor of English at California State University in Fresno, California. She lives with her partner since 1972, Phyllis Irwin. She has one son, Avrom, who earned a PhD from Stanford University. Before she graduated from high school, she married a gay man much older than herself, at her relatives's insistence.
Faderman studied first at the University of California, Berkeley and later at UCLA. She was a professor of English at California State University, Fresno and a visiting professor at UCLA. She retired in 2007.
Lillian Faderman, 1994, by Robert Giard (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/dl_crosscollex/brbldl_getrec.asp?fld=img&id=1123936)
American photographer Robert Giard is renowned for his portraits of American poets and writers; his particular focus was on gay and lesbian writers. Some of his photographs of the American gay and lesbian literary community appear in his groundbreaking book Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers, published by MIT Press in 1997. Giard’s stated mission was to define the literary history and cultural identity of gays and lesbians for the mainstream of American society, which perceived them as disparate, marginal individuals possessing neither. In all, he photographed more than 600 writers. (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/digital
Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Amazon: Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time
Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher
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