This collection contains Judy Freespirit’s published writings, manuscripts, personal journals and audio and videotapes of
her readings, performances and interviews. The subjects of her writings and performances are often autobiographical and refer
to her activist efforts in support of lesbians, fat acceptance, disability rights and Jewish culture.
Judy Freespirit, (born Judith Louise Berkowitz) was born in Detroit in 1936 to a working class Jewish family of Eastern Europe
decent. Subject to her father’s incest at an early age and pressured to diet beginning at eight, she identifies dancing and
theater performances as her main ways of surviving through high school. At 35, as she was finishing her master’s degree in
the early 1970s, Judy discovered the Women’s Liberation Movement in L.A. and began sharing Radical Therapy skills in women’s
rap groups. She soon left her husband and eleven year old son and came out as a lesbian. In 1976 Judy was one of the founders
of the Fat Underground in L. A. Later, on moving to the Bay Area, she wrote, danced and performed in “Fat Chance”, a performance
group, and “Fat Lip Reader’s Theater.” In the 1980s and ‘90s Judy continued to write about her life as a fat, Jewish, lesbian
incest survivor with disabilities. She died on September 10, 2010 in San Francisco.
7.1 linear feet (7 cartons and 1 oversize folder)
Copyright to unpublished manuscript materials has been transferred to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society.
The exceptions are the photos by Cathy Cade. Please contact the Managing Archivist for more information.
Collection is open for research.
Funding for processing this collection was provided by the National
Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).