Southwest Feminists Reunite ~ “40th Anniversary Event” • Interview with Joann Boehmer

Dublin Core


Southwest Feminists Reunite ~ “40th Anniversary Event” • Interview with Joann Boehmer


lesbian, Tucson, activism, history, feminists, 1970s, collectives, media


Southwest Feminists Reunite ~ “40th Anniversary Event” • Interview with Joann Boehmer

Southwest Feminists Reunite celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Southwest Feminist Festival Retreat held north of Tucson. That powerful experience in March 1973 and the dynamic creativity and political action that followed sparked feminists and lesbian feminists to reinvent their lives and organize for change over the next four decades. This collection consists of oral histories and digital scans of photographs from the past 40 years.


Jamie A. Lee, Project Director, Arizona Queer Archives
Anastasia Freyermuth, video producer


MiniDV tapes recorded on Panasonic DVX-100A digital video camera


Jamie A. Lee, Project Director, Arizona Queer Archives


16 March 2013


Southwest Feminists Reunite, Lavina Tomer, and Deborah Dobson


Rights given to the Arizona LGBTQ Storytelling Project and the Arizona Queer Archives


Southwest Feminists Reunite


H.264 300Kbps streaming QuickTime movie, 320 x 240

Joann Boehmer:
4:40 and 10.9MB





Alternative Title

Interview with Joann Boehmer

Date Available

6 January 2014

Date Created

16 March 2013

Rights Holder

Rights given to the Arizona LGBTQ Storytelling Project and the Arizona Queer Archives
Jamie A. Lee, Project Director, Arizona Queer Archives

Oral History Item Type Metadata


Jamie A. Lee


Joann Boehmer


Transcription by Courtney Martinez

Joann Boehmer:
Do you want me to start from when I first decided I was a feminist?

Interviewer: Yes.

Joann Boehmer: Okay,

Interviewer: And any time, you go right ahead…

Joann Boehmer: Sure, do I talk to you or do I talk to it?

Interviewer: You talk to it…

Joann Boehmer: Okay great…uhm…I first decided-

Unknown Speaker: Oops…sorry-

Joann Boehmer: Nope, we’re not suppose to do this…

Unknown Speaker: I think they squeezed someone in that wasn’t even on the list..

Joann Boehmer: Well…important people…so go…

Interviewer: Okay…

Joann Boehmer:
I came to Arizona in 1971. I decided, I went…before that I was in Cleveland Ohio…and I was at an all girls school and Betty Freidan had written her book…and I kind of related, but then I got involved more with radical nuns and lesbian nuns…and realized I was a lesbian feminist…moved to Phoenix…I couldn’t relate to living there…uhm…was involved with the women’s center…was involved with the Arizona GLAAD…uhm….we leafleted bars trying to get women out of the bars to be active and that there was something outside of that reality…uhm…we connected with women in Tucson, they came up to the women’s center…uhm…and they just sounded like, “this is really where I want to be living…in Tucson.” The first Southwest women’s festival happened, I went to it…did some photographing there, went with some women there from Phoenix …uh…and pretty much stayed in Tucson from that point on. Uhm…let’s see what else…hung out at the back of the women’s center, when I didn’t live anywhere…and was involved in different activities with the women’s center. I mostly floated through the women’s community with my partner. Uhm…I’m trying to go fast because I’m feeling like…

Interviewer: Sorry…

Joann Boehmer:
…I’m suppose to do that. So being an activist at this point in my life, over many many changes, from not living anywhere to being a free floating spirit and then eventually deciding I could go back to school and Pima college afforded my that and a lot of women in this community realized, “Oh, yeah, we can do whatever we want,” right on, uhm…so…we did. And uhm…met a lot of other women continuing their education…uhm I furthered mine. I choose to stay involved in education and be an activist in higher education because teaching is a political act. Uhm… and you touch a lot of lives that way…and so that’s how I operated…but uhm…you know…from the very first time I decided that...we needed to start organizing in Phoenix and trying to move people away from scenes that weren’t healthy for them, especially, and that there were venues or alternatives...uhm…and, I should probably say we did that with Cleve Jones…Uhm…who did the AIDS quilt in case no one knows that…uhm…and he was a little baby boy at that time…and we rode around with mimeograph sheets leafleting the bars. Uhm…and then…uhm…I’m trying to think what else in the women’s community…I’m…there’s a big group out there, I really feel that they should…

Interviewer: Are you from Tucson?

Joann Boehmer:
I do not live here anymore…uhm…I went back up to Phoenix to finish my degree…and then when you get a degree…a MFA doing photography, you go were the job is...and so…and I did a degree up there in audio visual production also.

Interviewer: Are you in Phoenix then?

Joann Boehmer: I am not in Phoenix…I am in Iowa…Aims, Iowa…

Interviewer: Oh…no way?

JB: Uh...Way…

That were my partner…she got her PhD there and that…I lived in Minneapolis and I screened a film in her lesbians studies course she was teaching…

Joann Boehmer: Awesome

…and that’s how I met …and now she is at the U of A teaching another….

Joann Boehmer:
Yeah, myself and my wife…and we chose to get married as a…I choose to get married clearly as a political act…cause we could…uhm so we did…and we did that on 11/11 uhm…which is Veteran’s day and was kinda like, “veteran’s day?” then I decided…I am a veteran…uhm...truly…So I…that was a good date and we got married on the capital steps…

Interviewer: Oh...nice…

Joann Boehmer: and…Yeah…

Interviewer: Congratulations…

End of Interview


Jamie A. Lee, Project Director, Arizona Queer Archives Anastasia Freyermuth, video producer , “Southwest Feminists Reunite ~ “40th Anniversary Event” • Interview with Joann Boehmer,” Arizona Queer Archives, accessed December 6, 2023,