Elizabeth Berrey and I have an article that was just published in Sinister Wisdom titled “Cassandra: Lesbian (Non)Presence in Nursing!” We were delighted to have this opportunity to document some of Cassandra’s history, while at the same time reflecting on what that experience meant to us!
For those wondering what that experience was, in 1982 a group of nurses at the American Nurses Association convention in Washington, DC, formed Cassandra: Radical Feminist Nurses Network. We were gathered at the end of June, at the same time as the June 30th, 1982 “death” of the ERA. Women and men from all over the country were gathered in the nation’s capitol to grieve the loss of that amendment, but also to express a commitment to move forward. There were celebrations, concerts, demonstrations all over the district, and then there was the ANA convention. For those of us present at the convention who also came because of wanting to be part of the ERA events, we were appalled at the utter lack of any indication, among the nurses gathered for the convention, that they even knew what was happening in the city. We watched in appalled horror as the guest speaker for the maternal-child group exited his limousine to enter the hotel for his appointed engagement – Orin Hatch from Utah, one of the most anti-woman members of congress.
Thus Cassandra was born! I have a page on this site dedicated to describing Cassandra, and have posted links to all of our Newsjournals, published from 1982 to 1987. And of course, now this article that Elizabeth and I wrote provides another dimension in recounting that history, and reflecting on what it meant at the time, and what it means in light of today’s perspective!
Here is the citation detail: Chinn, Peggy L & Berrey, Elizabeth R (2014) Cassandra: Lesbian (non)Presence in Nursing. Sinister Wisdom, 92, (Spring), 50-64. The issue is packed full of other amazing writers by lesbian healthcare workers, many of whom are nurses! So check it out at the Sinister Wisdom web site!