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Wolverton, Terry (b. 1954)  
 
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The performance piece that Wolverton created, In Silence, Secrets Turn to Lies / Secrets Shared Become Sacred Truth, was affecting and effective. The theatrical production was paired with an art exhibition at the Woman's Building. In addition, Mayor Tom Bradley supported the project by declaring October 1979 Children's Defense Month in Los Angeles. As the result of a vigorous media campaign, the exhibit was the Woman's Center's most successful in terms of attendance and also among the most rewarding because hundreds of people called the center's hotline and were referred to sources of support.

When the Reagan era began in 1981, the Woman's Building was among the many non-profit institutions that lost support and struggled to survive. Despite some success at fundraising in the latter part of the decade, the Woman's Building remained seriously imperiled.

Sponsor Message.

During the 1980s Wolverton was unstinting in her efforts to keep the Woman's Building going. At the same time she was questioning how best to express herself artistically. As much as she enjoyed performing, she was increasingly drawn to writing.

Wolverton's first book, Blue Moon (1977), a collection of prose and poetry, was the outgrowth of an FSW class. Other members of the program contributed illustrations and volunteered their printing skills to help her self-publish her work on the Woman's Building's presses.

In 1989 Wolverton decided to leave her post at the Woman's Building to devote herself to writing her own poetry and fiction and to supporting other authors by editing collections of their work.

Wolverton's first major publications were editorial efforts. Blood Whispers: L. A. Writers on AIDS (volume 1, 1991; volume 2, 1994) had its genesis in a writing workshop for people with HIV/AIDS that she began teaching in 1988. She stated in a 2000 interview that working with gay men caused her to move beyond the separatist lesbian feminist views that she had held in her younger years. Because of her experiences with gay writers, she "found a lot of [her] former anti-male attitudes just falling away."

Wolverton soon began a very successful professional partnership with gay novelist and editor Robert Drake. Together they produced Indivisible: New Short Fiction by West Coast Gay and Lesbian Writers (1991). "It was our mission, with that first book, to get gay men and lesbians to read one another's work," she stated. The groundbreaking anthology of both gay and lesbian writing earned favorable reviews, but, said Wolverton, "no one knew how to market this idea."

Wolverton and Drake hoped to bring out Indivisible 2, but, she stated, "no publisher would touch it." Faced with this problem, Wolverton proposed compiling companion volumes of gay and lesbian stories. This approach proved more marketable, and Wolverton and Drake produced Hers: Brilliant New Fiction by Lesbian Writers and His: Brilliant New Fiction by Gay Writers in 1995.

Both were well received. A review in Publishers Weekly called the collection in His "rich, imaginative and diverse," and Whitney Scott described Hers as "a thought-provoking compilation worthy of nonlesbian readers' attention."

Wolverton and Drake collaborated on two further volumes of the series, His 2 and Hers 2 (1997) and His 3 and Hers 3 (1999). They were nominated for several literary prizes and won a Lambda Literary Award for His 2.

In reviewing His 3 and Hers 3 in 1999, critic Keith Banner arrived at the same conclusion that Wolverton and Drake had reached years before: "the boy-girl thing seems oddly outdated, especially in the context of the stories that often flaunt and transpose and chuckle at the gender divide." He ratified Wolverton and Drake's original intention of presenting a unified queer anthology, observing, "both books form one fabulously variegated collection."

The productive editorial partnership tragically came to an end in January 1999 when Drake was savagely beaten in Sligo, Ireland by two men who later claimed to be "the victims of a homosexual pass." The attack having left Drake in a coma, Wolverton persevered alone to complete the third collection of His and Hers, as well as two more companion volumes, Circa 2000: Gay Fiction at the Millennium and Circa 2000: Lesbian Fiction at the Millennium (both 2000), "painstakingly trying to recreate [Drake's] vision from a fragmentary set of notes and files . . . , determined to keep alive the legacy of his vision."

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