July 7, 2010
Lesbian heroines from history #6: Frida Kahlo
This week’s heroine is: Frida Kahlo (1907-1954)
Also known as: Magalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderon (her birth name) or Frida Kahlo de Rivera (after she married, divorced then remarried the Mexican painter Diego Rivera).
Not to be confused with Salma Hayek, who played Kahlo in the 2003 movie Frida.
Our heroine’s social scene: 1930s-40s Mexico
Famous for: Her colourful oil paintings, predominantly self-portraits, which mixed Mexican folk art and mythology with symbolic images of her own physical and psychological pain. Aged eighteen, she was in a serious traffic accident and spent more than a year confined to her bed whilst convalescing, which is when she took up painting. Despite over 30 operations, she remained in physical pain with relapsing complications for the rest of her life.
Infamous for: Chain-smoking, crude jokes, and raucous dinner parties at her home. The year before her death, she had an exhibition in Mexico, but her doctor insisted that her health was too poor for her to leave her bed. Frida was adamant that she wouldn’t miss it, and arrived in an ambulance, followed by at truck containing her bed. Once settled back into bed, she was carried into the waiting audience at the exhibition opening party.
Reason she’s a heroine: Openly bisexual, Frida loved seducing women. From her late teens onward, she often experiment with cross-dressing and androgyny, and has since been glorified as a feminist icon for her appropriation of masculine clothes to signify power and independence.
Any famous friends/lovers: Both Kahlo and Rivera had hot tempers that made their relationship turbulent, and both had numerous extramarital affairs. Kahlo’s included romances with Josephine Baker and Georgia O’Keeffe. She also had an affair with Leon Trotsky when he and his wife stayed with Frida during a stay in Mexico seeking political sanctuary from the Stalinist regime in the Soviet Union.
If she were alive today, she’d be: Tracey Emin
Can animals be gay?
Lesbilicious were at the Paws with Pride Pet Show at Newcastle Leazes Park in July 2012. We asked pet owners, can animals be gay? The people we interviewed had some interesting anecdotes about their own pets.
August 1, 2012