Tee Corinne, and my other mothers and fathers

Someone I never knew died on August 27, and I sat at my computer at work yesterday writing an obituary and trying not to cry.

In case you’re not familiar with her, Tee Corinne was one of the earliest pioneers of the modern lesbian and women’s erotica movements — in photography, writing, and art. She’s probably best known for the “Cunt Coloring Book,” but I mostly knew her from her photography. She was one of the first women to create sexual images and writing for women, from a woman’s point of view, outside the male-driven porn machinery — and to do it publicly and shamelessly.

And by “one of the first,” I don’t mean she was doing it before it was cool. I mean she was doing it before it was being done. Her doing it is one of the things that made it possible for the rest of us to do it. She paved the way. She made a space.

I never met Tee Corinne. But she’s one of the people who made my life easier.

No, strike that. She’s one of the people who made my life possible. I’m not a pioneer — I’m an early adapter, but I’m not a pioneer — and I know myself well enough to know that I wouldn’t have had the nerve to step into those woods if there hadn’t been Tee and people like her cutting through the brush and stamping out a trail first.

I feel bad that I never took the time to write her while she was alive and thank her. So I want to do that now — not just Tee, but all the people who’ve made talking about sex, and making art about sex, and providing/getting accurate information about sex, that much easier. I always get pissy when young sex writers/artists act like it’s always been this easy and don’t acknowledge the debt of gratitude they have towards the people who came before them. So I want to say thank you now.

I want to say thank you, not only to Tee Corinne, but to Joani Blank and Betty Dodson, to Pat Califia and Honey Lee Cottrell, to Felice Newman and Frederique Delacoste, to Priscilla Alexander and Scarlot Harlot, to Michael Rosen and Mark I. Chester, to Layne Wincklebleck and Kat Sunlove, to the founders of San Francisco Sex Information, to Nina Hartley and Annie Sprinkle, to Isadora Allman and Susie Bright. And I know there are more. I know I’m forgetting some people, and for that I apologize. If you think you should have been on this list, you probably should have.

To all of you I want to say: I am not an ungrateful child. I am more grateful than I could possibly say.

Tee Corinne, and my other mothers and fathers
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One thought on “Tee Corinne, and my other mothers and fathers

  1. 1

    I saw her obit in the brief moments I had online at a netcafe Tim and I stopped at on the way home from Worldcon.
    Her papers and art are going to the University of Oregon, and Jean Sirius, her executrix, mentions there’s a memorial fund in support of which:
    Virtually all of Tee’s estate will become the property of the University of Oregon, Special Collections and University Archives in the University of Oregon Libraries.
    In lieu of flowers, contributions in Tee’s name should be made payable to Tee Corinne Fund, with “Tee Corinne U of O Libraries” in the memo line, and should be mailed to the Library Development Office, 1299 University of Oregon, Eugene OR 97403-1299.
    Jean’s definitely on my Thank You list.
    farewell, Tee; thank you.
    But I wanna know, seriously: did any of the readers of this weblog ever COLOR in a copy of their cunt coloring book? tear out a page and frame it on the wall? (ever see a copy in person, own one still?)
    So much love and thanks to those who are paving the way.

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