United Lesbians of African Heritage Is Founded Summary

  • Last updated on November 11, 2022

United Lesbians of African Heritage formed in response to a need for an organization dedicated to the visibility, unity, and empowerment of black lesbians.

Summary of Event

In March of 1989, a group in Los Angeles began to meet regularly with the goal of planning a black lesbian conference. The impetus for the meetings was the lack of women’s programming at the National Black Gay & Lesbian Leadership Forum Conference. National Black Gay & Lesbian Leadership Forum Conference Black Gay & Lesbian Leadership Forum Conference, National The early seeds were planted at these meetings for the formation of United Lesbians of African Heritage (ULOAH). Through the following several months, and after many community meetings, it became clear that the black lesbian community needed an organization that could address effectively the broad range of issues that affected the lives of women who were black and lesbian. The early issues and concerns were wide-ranging, from activism to building coalitions to health and wellness, to name just a few. Even in a large metropolitan area such as Los Angeles, there had been no organization dedicated to serving black lesbians. [kw]United Lesbians of African Heritage Is Founded (1990) [kw]Lesbians of African Heritage Is Founded, United (1990) [kw]African Heritage Is Founded, United Lesbians of (1990) African Americans;and lesbian feminism[lesbian feminism] [c]Organizations and institutions;1990: United Lesbians of African Heritage Is Founded[1980] [c]Race and ethnicity;1990: United Lesbians of African Heritage Is Founded[1980] Powell, Lisa Tignor, Saundra Whittington, Yolanda

ULOAH was founded as a nonprofit organization in 1990 by Lisa Powell, Saundra Tignor, and Yolanda Whittington. It is the only organization of its type in Southern California and one of only a few in the United States. ULOAH has a staff of four, including a full-time executive director.


ULOAH serves a growing, yet vastly underserved, community of black lesbians and is committed to combating discrimination and prejudice against black lesbians, prejudice and discrimination that comes from stigmas against the intersecting identities of race, gender, and sexual orientation.

The primary goals of ULOAH, whose slogan is “Making the world safe for black lesbians,” have been to build self-esteem, to challenge heterosexism and other forms of oppression, and to work for lasting social change through visibility, education, and advocacy. Some of the organization’s programs have included “ULOAH University,” workshops, speakers, panel discussions, and training sessions designed to increase black lesbian activism and leadership. ULOAH/YES (Young, Empowered Sistahs) Young, Empowered Sistahs is a program that foster leadership among young black lesbians (ages sixteen to twenty-six). Strong Sistahs/Sweet Success Strong Sistahs/Sweet Success[Strong Sistahs Sweet Success] is a ULOAH program that aims to decrease obesity and increase physical activity among black lesbians, and ULOAH provides social support to black lesbians ages fifty and older. Furthermore, ULOAH organizes Sistahfest, Sistahfest an annual four-day educational and cultural festival. In keeping with ULOAH’s mission, the Family Reunion program focuses on increasing understanding of black LGBT persons within non-LGBT communities and institutions such as churches and schools. African Americans;and lesbian feminism[lesbian feminism]

Further Reading
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Asanti, Ta’Shia. “The New ULOAH: Black Lesbian Organization Expands Its Vision in 2003.” Lesbian News, February, 2003, 16.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">_______. “ULOAH’s Black Lesbian Vagina Dialogues.” Lesbian News, August, 2001, 30.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Douglas, Kelly Brown. Sexuality and the Black Church: A Womanist Perspective. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1999.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Johnson, E. Patrick, and Mae G. Henderson, eds. Black Queer Studies: A Critical Anthology. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2005.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Lorde, Audre. I Am Your Sister: Black Women Organizing Across Sexualities. Freedom Organizing Pamphlet Series 3. Latham, N.Y.: Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, 1985.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Mason-John, Valerie, ed. Talking Black: Lesbians of African and Asian Descent Speak Out. New York: Cassell, 1995.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Smith, Rhonda. “To the Front Line.” Washington Blade, April 20, 2001, 1.

April, 1977: Combahee River Collective Issues “A Black Feminist Statement”

October 12-15, 1979: First National Third World Lesbian and Gay Conference Convenes

1981: This Bridge Called My Back Is Published

October, 1981: Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press Is Founded

1982: Lorde’s Autobiography Zami Is Published

September, 1983: First National Lesbians of Color Conference Convenes

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