James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Assimilating Mattilda's Papers

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, is an author and activist who challenges the status quo within the LGBTQIA community. With anthologies such as That's Revolting: Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation, Mattilda gives a voice to ideas that differ from the mainstream and inspire us to demand more than inclusion.

Mattilda has been known by various names throughout her life: Matt Bernstein Sycamore, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, and just Mattilda. She was the editor of her high school yearbook and its literary magazine, and has been involved with activism for GLBT issues, AIDS, and politics. She participated with ACT UP and was the co-founder of "Gay Shame" with one other person.

"Gay Shame" photo
She's an avid diarist and writer, and has lived in a variety of cities including New York and San Francisco. She is the author of The End of San Francisco (2013) and the novels So Many Ways To Sleep Badly (2008) and Pulling Taffy (Suspect Thoughts, 2003). She's also the editor of five anthologies: Tricks and Treats: Sex Workers Write About Their Clients (2000); That's Revolting: Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation (2004); Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity (2006); Dangerous Families: Queer Writing on Surviving (2004); and Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots? Flaming Challenges to Masculinity, Objectification, and the Desire to Conform (2012).

The bulk of the Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore Papers (GLC 110) is from 1996-2011 and the major subjects include assimilation, gender, identity, and politics. The collection contains manuscripts, 'zines, published articles and books, photographs and audiovisual materials.

Feedback from D. Travers Scott
on a draft of The End of San Francisco
Roughly half of the collection is heavily edited drafts of The End of San Francisco and the submitted and edited drafts and correspondence for the anthology Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots? The papers also contain a number of ‘zines, such as Gay Shame and Swallow Your Pride, which Mattilda produced, articles and reviews written by Mattilda, and several published interviews of Mattilda.

Come explore Mattilda's writing and anthologies. You might be inspired to re-examine your own ideas and you might assimilate some of the ideas you discover here. The Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore Papers (GLC 110) are available through the San Francisco History Center, 6th floor, Main Library.

And for Throwback Thursday, here's the 2012 post Faggots in the Library? about Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?