Gloria Bates, I’m remembering Harriet and Mary, a couple who lived across the street from Lenny and me in New York. They were in their 50s and early 60s when I knew them, and had been together forever.
Harriet was a buyer for Macy's, a true brash New Yorker with the accent to match. She called herself a lesbian.
Mary, on the other hand, drove a yellow cab and dressed like a cabbie. She always called herself a dyke, and Harriet always called her one too — affectionately, of course. When I read your article, I think of how Harriet definitely emanated a lesbian vibe, while Mary was all dyke.
The word is certainly useful if people are cool with continuing to reclaim it. I have the sense, though, that the reclamation isn’t as far along as the reclamation of “queer.”