Press Photograph: Lesbian Minister Lynn Griffis

Press Photograph: Lesbian Minister Lynn Griffis


Alain McLaughlin, Reaction Images, “Lesbian minister Lynn Griffis shows a cross she said was carved onto her chest by skinhead assailants objecting to her work with AIDS patients and her recent ordination in one of San Francisco’s largest gay churches. Police discounted her story that had caused a national debate about bigotry and gay-bashing.” August 1989. 

According to Lynne Gerber in Devotions and Desires: Histories of Sexuality and Religion in the Twentieth Century (pp. 267-268), Griffis’s wounds were self-inflicted and a product of extreme psychological duress. A disturbing image, nevertheless preserved in very good condition.A disturbing and confrontational image, crisp and clean and in very good condition.

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This photograph comes from the collection of Impact Visuals, a New York-based cooperative photo agency dedicated to documenting social justice movements, including the anti-apartheid movement in both the United States and South Africa, and the independent movement in Namibia. Impact Visuals was founded by Michael Kaufman and operated from 1980s until its closure in 2001. These seven photos span the height of Impact Visuals’ activity, between 1987-1994, and document protestors in New York, Washington D.C., San Francisco, and even a protest of one in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Each photograph has contact information for Impact Visuals, and details about its photographer, subject, and date of creation, taped to it as is usual for the collections of photo agencies.