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Digital Subscriptions > Curve > SPRING 2019 > The Art of SAME SEX LOVE


A lesbian reflects on the 50th anniversary of Stonewall.
Beth Suskin (left) and Leslie Cohen (right) are partners in life—and in LGBT history. Here, Cohen shares their personal and public story of “gay liberation.”
Beth Suskin and Leslie Cohen

Beth Suskin, my partner (and now wife) of 42 years, and I were the models for Gay Liberation, the sculpture that now resides in Christopher Park across from the Stonewall Inn. Since the sculpture’s unveiling in 1992, we have stood before it many times, staring at our doppelganger selves. We have witnessed drunken men slouched on the park bench, resting their heads in our laps; children climbing on us like monkey bars and sitting on our knees; grown men and women crying openly before it, overcome with emotion, perhaps remembering the humiliations they’d experienced when they were taunted, arrested, forced to hide their true identities. Gay men and lesbians from around the world have also come to see the sculpture as a symbol of gay pride and as a conirmation of the great progress that has been made toward their visibility and acceptance.

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About Curve

One of the most direct ways to be authentic is to demand visibility, and one of the most immediate ways to achieve that is through personal style. Fashion is an increasingly important form of expression for queer women. Recently, Nats Getty, a high-profile artist and LGBTQ rights activist—and the out-and-proud heir to the Getty fortune—launched her own label, Strike Oil. When I met Nats in New York she told me the motto of the label was Rise Early, Work Hard, Strike Oil. It’s a saying from the man who built the Getty empire, but Nats has repurposed it as a mantra for what she refers to as “the differents”—those of us who never truly fit in. Resourcefulness is, no doubt, a road to reward, but for Nats, and for so many of us, our sense of personal advancement is tied to the broader LGBTQ community. Strike Oil, with its colorful, street-inspired designs, channels Nat’s rebelliousness to help build a platform for LGBTQ individuals and to send a message to us to wear our identities proudly. So this spring, I hope you go out there and “strike oil” in whatever aspect of your life needs it the most..