Word Is Out and the World It Transformed

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TOWARD THE END of the 1977 documentary Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives, Pat Bond remarks that “one of the depressing things about lesbians being accepted is that we lose our sense of the ‘in’ group, the adventure of being different in a straight world.” One of the filmmakers then asks the 52-year-old writer and performer if she would prefer to go back to how things were before. Bond reflects for a moment but finally says, “No, no. I— I would prefer that we be accepted.”

Pat BondIt’s a good thing Bond comes around, because she’s appearing in the film that likely did more than any other to foster the transformation in gay and lesbian life of which she speaks. For many reviewers of Word Is Out, Bond was the film’s star. She launched a career as a solo performer from the success of the film and was soon touring the country with two one-woman shows. One of them, Conversations with Pat Bond, built on the often-hilarious tales of pre-Stonewall lesbian community and survival that she recounts in the film. Thousands of gays and lesbians clearly shared Bond’s affection for queer underground life before the great dawn of acceptance. But it was just as clear that there was no going back.

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