Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Lesbian National Parks and Services

Lesbian National Parks and Services / Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan

Lesbian National Parks and Services was founded in 1997 to insert a lesbian presence into the landscape. In full uniform as Lesbian Rangers, Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan patrol parklands, challenging the general public's ideas of tourism, recreation, and the "natural" environment. Equipped with informative brochures and well-researched knowledge, they are a visible homosexual presence in spaces where concepts of history and biology exclude all but a very few.

Lesbian National Parks and Services: A Force of Nature (Video Clip 7.2 MB)

This mock-u-mentary follows the intrepid Lesbian Rangers through Jr. Lesbian Ranger training camp, research missions, deep-sea rescue, and field work around the globe. Premiered at the Sydney (Australia) Gay/Lesbian Film Festival.

Watch another LNPS promotional video here.

Lesbian National Parks and Services: Field Guide to North America
By Ranger Shawna Dempsey and Ranger Lorri Millan
Illustrated by Daniel Barrow
Pedlar Press (2002)

Whether you are a veteran outdoors-woman or a novice bushwacker, this is the comprehensive lesbiancraft manual you have been waiting for! After extensive tours-of-duty around the globe and in the field, the world-famous Lesbian Rangers have compiled their exhaustive findings in this richly illustrated book. A practical field guide, the Lesbian Rangers describe Flora, Fauna, and Lesbian Survival Skills in intimate detail. Discover how to start a fire and keep it going, what and whom to eat, and the secrets of lesbian psychology.

Read excerpts from the Field Guide here.

Lesbian National Parks and Services: Field Guide to North America / Reviewed by Anne Borden / The Danforth Review

Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan's Field Guide is a witty, indelibly Canadian exploration of a variety of species, including, of course, our own. It is designed to mimic the field guides of the 1950s and 1960s, with rounded corners, pen-and-ink illustrations and a lilting, Audubon parlance. Through their double-voiced narration, the authors urge readers to protect not only the Atlantic Ridley Sea Turtle and other rare creatures, but the endangered beauty and diversity of queer culture, which is constantly under threat due to "unnatural disasters such as religious fundamentalism and assimilation."

The Lesbian Rangers were conceived by Dempsey and Millan as part of a residency through the Walter Phillips Gallery at the Banff Center, in which they donned uniforms and established an onsite information centre for the preservation of "lesbian wildlife." The reaction from guests at the provincial park was overwhelmingly positive, in part because of Dempsey and Millan's adept humour, steeped in double-entendre that manages to fall far short of mockery, and never stoops to mean-spiritedness. "Busy Hands, Happy Heart" goes the Rangers' motto, but this work ethic expands beyond the work of preserving North American wildlife to advocating for LGBT visibility and establishing the important role that queers play in society, in a voice that alternates between authoritative fact and radical cheek.

Read the full review here.

Interview with Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan / The Danforth Review

As collaborators since 1989, Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan have created a prolific body of performance art, print publications, video and film. Their most recent text, the Lesbian National Parks and Services Field Guide to North America (2002, Pedlar Press) is a thought-provoking, uproarious send-up of the field guide genre. It looks and feels like a field guide from the 1950's, from the light sheen of its pages and the cover lamination, to its rounded corners and romantic illustrations. But within its pages lies an examination of the diversity of sexual practices among animals and plants, and a radical critique of sexism in science and sexual conservatism in the broader culture.

Shawna and Lorri spoke with Anne Borden (The Danforth Review) via telephone in early February 2003. Read the full interview here.

Junior Lesbian Ranger Handbook

Everything you need to get started on life's bushpath. This handy guide covers knot-tying, how to move an insensible lesbian and more! Also includes a full-colour embroidered Junior Lesbian Ranger patch.

Recent Projects

Lesbian Rangers / Reorientation 2005 / University of Winnipeg

Consideration Liberation Army / The Revolution Begins June 21, 2007