Lesbian Feminism

Lesbian feminism emerged as a result of exclusion from the women’s liberation movement. Lesbianism was largely ignored because many believed that it would undermine the credibility of the movement by reintroducing sex into the feminist agenda and a lot of women preferred the sexual respite feminism granted and thought including lesbian feminism would eliminate said respite.

Betty Friedan founded the National Organization for Women in 1966. She also was a feminist who wasn’t all for the integration of lesbian feminism, though, her exclusion wasn’t entirely unfounded. Her concern, and that of other straight feminists, was that the first thing that would come to the minds of men would be “‘mannish’ or ‘man-hating’ lesbians” and that, consequently would “hinder the cause”. A lesbian agenda would compromise political power and image that feminists worked so hard to gain and create. However, she failed to realize, or perhaps care, that these so called “man-hating” lesbians were women, too, and they wanted and deserved the same things that every woman in the country was fighting for. All they wanted was to aid the cause.  Friedan, eventually, went so far as to refer to lesbian feminism as the “lavender menace”, which further infuriated lesbian feminists and practically lit the fire of persistence in the heart of movement.

In the ten-paragraph manifesto titled The Woman Identified Woman, written The Radicalesbians, a lesbian is defined as “the rage of all women condensed to the point of explosion...She...acts...to be a more complete and free human being than her society-,...cares to allow her...these needs and actions...bring her into painful conflict...until is in a state of continual war with everything around her, and usually herself.” This quote pretty much sums up the amount of strength that a lesbian has to have to simply be there self-a luxury every heterosexual doesn’t even acknowledge on a day-to-day basis. On top of this she must also battle the challenge of owning up to herself semi-acceptable identity as a woman. Everyday that this woman decides to show herself she shows the political and societal defiance of ten straight feminists. On May 1, 1970, at the “ Second Congress to Unite Women” lesbian activists rushed the stage, conspicuous in there objective to be heard. To their surprise, they were almost immediately joined by members of the audience who wished to aid in their cause.

Initially, the women’s liberation movement wasn’t an all-inclusive cause. The heterosexual feminists that dominated it, succeeded in being seen as the men they fought so hard to be venerated in relation to, in the way that they regarded lesbians as nothing more than a discredibility, because that wrongly placed and forced stigma/stereotype. However, after many protests and the cooperation of open, understanding minds, lesbian rights soon became, and continue to be, recognized as “‘a legitimate concern of feminism.”’