LGBTQ INFORMATION NETWORK │ RAINBOW OF RESOURCES

WOMEN
 

Advocate: Salute to Amazing LGBTQ Women of 2021

NPR: What The Texas Abortion Ban Does and What It Means For Other States

International Women's Day: Chaka Kahn and Idina Menzel

Billie Jean King: 50 Years of Activism

HuffPost: End of the Pussy-Grabbing President

Indigo Girls: Go (March for Our Lives)

Sheryl Crowe: Woman in the White House

Advocate: Civil Rights Champion Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dies

Unpregnant: Women's Movement Meets LGBTQ Movement

Beyonce: Girls Run the World

Americans by Janelle Monae

Advocate Magazine: Women of the Year

Taylor Swift: I'd Be The Man

 

 

National Organization for Women

Women’s Issues Websites

Superwoman by Alicia Keys
What is the Texas Abortion Ban and Why Does it Matter?

HRC: How to Make Your Feminism Trans Inclusive

Warrior Women are the Role Models We Need

Tricia Yearwood: Every Girl in This Town

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Woman of the Year

My Out Spirit: Women’s Issues

Lady Gaga: Till it Happens to You

Wikipedia: Lesbian Feminism

It's Time for LGBTQ Women to Claim Our Seats at the Table

Four Non Blondes: What's Up

Born to Play: Boston Renegades Women's Football Team

How Toxic Masculinity Harms Women

Jennifer Nettles: I Can Do Hard Things

Women React to Trump’s Sexism

The Year Women Found Their Rage

Feminist Current: Lesbianism Under Attack

Trump's List of Nasty Women

Gloria Steinem: Feminist Icon

Highwomen Music Video: Redesigning Women

Info: Lesbian Issues

 

Women's Rights

 

“Feminism encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians.”

-Pat Robertson

 

As a group, women have long suffered many of the same acts of oppression endured by LGBTQ individuals. Women have experienced countless inequities and injustices over the years. Women have been the victims of discrimination, harassment, and violence. Issues of women's rights are very much parallel with LGBTQ rights. Women's Liberation and Gay Liberation have a lot in common regarding the fight for equality. The "Glass Ceiling" and the "Lavender Ceiling" are obstacles both groups fully recognize.

 



Lesbian feminism is a cultural movement and critical perspective, most popular in the 1970s and early 1980s (primarily in North America and Western Europe), that questions the position of lesbians and women in society. Some key thinkers and activists are Charlotte Bunch, Rita Mae Brown, Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, Marilyn Frye, Mary Daly, Sheila Jeffreys and Monique Wittig. Historically lesbianism has been closely associated with feminism, going back at least to the 1890s. "Lesbian feminism" is a related movement that came together in the early 1970s out of dissatisfaction with second-wave feminism and the gay liberation movement.

In the words of lesbian feminist Sheila Jeffreys, "Lesbian feminism emerged as a result of two developments: lesbians within the Women's Liberation Movement began to create a new, distinctively feminist lesbian politics, and lesbians in the Gay Liberation Front left to join up with their sisters."

 

Sheila Jeffreys defines lesbian feminism as having seven key themes:

--Emphasis on women's love for one another
--Separatist organizations
--Community and ideas
--Idea that lesbianism is about choice and resistance
--Idea that the personal is the political
--Rejection of social hierarchy
--Critique of male-supremacy (which eroticizes inequality)

 

Sisters Are Doin' for Themselves: Annie Lennox and Aretha Franklin
Lesbian Activist Fighting for All women's Rights

These Boots Are Made for Walking

Essay by Adrienne Rich: Compulsory Heterosexuality & Lesbian Existence
AutoStraddle: Female Friends Forever

Wikipedia: Womyn
Advocate Magazine: Women of the Year

Trump's List of Nasty Women

Gloria Steinem: Why You Should Be a Feminist

Meredith Brooks: Bitch

Throw Like a Girl

Indigo Girls: Go (March for Our Lives)

 

 

Herstory Project: Feminism and Lesbianism

Article: Lesbian Separatism

It's Time for LGBTQ Women to Claim Our Seats at the Table

How Ramona Quimby Taught a Generation of Girls to Embrace Brashness

Info: Lesbian Issues

Gal Pals and Compulsory Heterosexuality

Highwomen: Redesigning Women

GoMag: Cultural Roadmap for City Girls Everywhere

Wikipedia: Lesbian Feminism

Lesbians in the 1960s Feminist Movement

Jennifer Nettles: I Can Do Hard Things

Let's Talk Comp-Het

 

Shout Out to Women


"She overcame everything that was meant to destroy her."
-Sylvester McNutt III

"Give a woman pain and she’ll turn it into power. Give that woman chaos and she’ll create peace."
-R. H. Sin

“I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men. They are far superior and always have been.”
-William Golding

 

 

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dies

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a champion of civil rights for LGBTQ people, women, and many others, has died at age 87, on September 18, 2020 at her home in Washington DC.  Appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, she was the second woman to serve on the high court, after Sandra Day O’Connor.

"Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature," Chief Justice John Roberts said. "We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her, a tireless and resolute champion of justice."

 

Architect of the legal fight for women's rights in the 1970s, Ginsburg subsequently served 27 years on the nation's highest court, becoming its most prominent member. Her death will inevitably set in motion what promises to be a nasty and tumultuous political battle over who will succeed her, and it thrusts the Supreme Court vacancy into the spotlight of the presidential campaign.

 

Advocate Magazine: Women of the Year

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Woman of the Year

CNN: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dies at 87

NPR: Champion of Gender Equality Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dies

Slate: What Justice Ginsburg Would Want America to Do Now

ABC News: Supreme Court Powerhouse Ginsburg Dies at 87

NPR: Vigil for Ruth Bader Ginsburg

It's Time for LGBTQ Women to Claim Our Seats at the Table

 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

 

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Tops the "Women of the Year" list compiled by Advocate Magazine. In reality, Ginsburg is a woman of the year every year, but this year she joins a long line of other trailblazers for Advocate's annual women's issue. Ginsburg has a long history of fighting for the rights of women, LGBTQ people, people of color, and other marginalized groups.

As a lawyer, she was arguing against sex discrimination back in the 1970s, when what was then called Women’s Liberation had far from universal support. One of her most significant early cases was Moritz v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue Service, which showed that gender equality benefited men as well as women. In the case, dramatized in the 2018 film On the Basis of Sex, Ginsburg successfully argued that a man shouldn’t be denied a tax deduction for what he paid his mother’s caregiver, when a woman in the same situation would receive the deduction.

 



Ginsburg, who graduated first in her class at Columbia Law School in 1959, taught law at Rutgers University, where she started a class on women and the law, and then Columbia before President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 1980. Then President Bill Clinton appointed her to the Supreme Court in 1993, making her only the second woman to serve on the high court. Three years later, she joined the court’s majority in its first pro-LGBTQ ruling, Romer v. Evans, which struck down a discriminatory state constitutional amendment in Colorado.

Ginsburg went on to be in the majority in other pro-equality rulings, and she dissented eloquently from the court’s 2018 ruling in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to create a wedding cake for a same-sex couple because, according to the baker, it would violate his rights of freedom of speech and religion. While the majority found that Colorado officials, when they found baker Jack Phillips had run afoul of the state’s antidiscrimination law, did not give his religious beliefs appropriate consideration, Ginsburg wrote, “What matters is that Phillips would not provide a good or service to a same-sex couple that he would provide to a heterosexual couple.” She further noted, “Phillips declined to make a cake he found offensive where the offensiveness of the product was determined solely by the identity of the customer requesting it.”

That was in keeping with Ginsburg’s record. In 2013, she became the first Supreme Court justice to officiate a same-sex couple’s wedding. “I think it will be one more statement that people who love each other and want to live together should be able to enjoy the blessings and the strife in the marriage relationship,” she told The Washington Post at the time. She has gone on to officiate weddings for other same-sex couples.

The Notorious RBG remains a fierce advocate for equality. Long may she rule.

[Source: Trudy Ring, Advocate Magazine, May 2020]

 

Advocate Magazine: Women of the Year

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Woman of the Year

CNN: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dies at 87

NPR: Champion of Gender Equality Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dies

Slate: What Justice Ginsburg Would Want America to Do Now

ABC News: Supreme Court Powerhouse Ginsburg Dies at 87

NPR: Vigil for Ruth Bader Ginsburg

It's Time for LGBTQ Women to Claim Our Seats at the Table

 

What Was It Like?

 

They asked me to tell you what it was like to be twenty and pregnant in 1950 and when you tell your boyfriend you’re pregnant, he tells you about a friend of his in the army whose girl told him she was pregnant, so he got all his buddies to come and say, “We all f*cked her, so who knows who the father is?” And he laughs at the good joke….


What was it like, if you were planning to go to graduate school and get a degree and earn a living so you could support yourself and do the work you loved—what it was like to be a senior at Radcliffe and pregnant and if you bore this child, this child which the law demanded you bear and would then call “unlawful,” “illegitimate,” this child whose father denied it … What was it like? […]
It’s like this: if I had dropped out of college, thrown away my education, depended on my parents … if I had done all that, which is what the anti-abortion people want me to have done, I would have borne a child for them, … the authorities, the theorists, the fundamentalists; I would have born a child for them, their child.

 


But I would not have born my own first child, or second child, or third child. My children.


The life of that fetus would have prevented, would have aborted, three other fetuses … the three wanted children, the three I had with my husband—whom, if I had not aborted the unwanted one, I would never have met … I would have been an “unwed mother” of a three-year-old in California, without work, with half an education, living off her parents….


But it is the children I have to come back to, my children Elisabeth, Caroline, Theodore, my joy, my pride, my loves. If I had not broken the law and aborted that life nobody wanted, they would have been aborted by a cruel, bigoted, and senseless law. They would never have been born. This thought I cannot bear.

 


What was it like, in the Dark Ages when abortion was a crime, for the girl whose dad couldn’t borrow cash, as my dad could? What was it like for the girl who couldn’t even tell her dad, because he would go crazy with shame and rage? Who couldn’t tell her mother? Who had to go alone to that filthy room and put herself body and soul into the hands of a professional criminal? – because that is what every doctor who did an abortion was, whether he was an extortionist or an idealist.


You know what it was like for her. You know and I know; that is why we are here. We are not going back to the Dark Ages. We are not going to let anybody in this country have that kind of power over any girl or woman. There are great powers, outside the government and in it, trying to legislate the return of darkness. We are not great powers. But we are the light. Nobody can put us out. May all of you shine very bright and steady, today and always.
 

[Source: Ursula K. Le Guin]

 

NPR: What The Texas Abortion Ban Does and What It Means For Other States
CNN: What is the Texas Abortion Ban and Why Does it Matter?
Planned Parenthood: Texas Abortion Ban is Vigilante Justice
Politico: Texas Abortion Ban is Allowed to Take Effect
Jen Psaki vs. Male Conservative Journalist on Abortion Issue

 

 

Lesbians in the 1960s Feminist Movement

 

When Betty Friedan started the National Organization for Women, the last thing she wanted male America to think of was butch lesbians. The problem was, they were women too.

In 1969, political activism in America was reaching a fever pitch. The convulsions of 1968 (within the US and abroad) were still reverberating, and there was a sense among many young people that the stakes had never been higher. The continued calamity of the Vietnam War was unfolding. Racial tension was explosive. Social movements were coalescing, and using novel tactics to get what they wanted. Almost all were also grappling with what we now call identity politics. Tensions between assimilationism and the drive to pursue a more radical agenda threatened to undermine or tear apart groups of activists.


The “women’s liberation movement” was in full swing. Across the country, women gathered in consciousness-raising groups to share their experiences, read feminist texts, and work together to come to a fuller understanding of their own oppression. They debated politics. They talked intimately about previously private issues: marriage, mothering, dieting, rape, incest, and violence. They taught themselves self-defense. Groups like WITCH and Redstockings staged sit-ins, boycotts, and other protest actions. Media outlets clamored for hot leads about frustrated housewives, angry coeds, and other “women’s libbers.” As one editor is rumored to have told a writer, “Get the bra burning and the karate up front.”


 

At the time, Betty Friedan, author of The Feminine Mystique, the 1963 book that blew the lid off of suburban female misery, was the president of the National Organization for Women (NOW). She had helped found the group three years earlier. NOW was arguably the most important feminist organization of the time, but there were tensions within its ranks. Friedan and other straight feminists were concerned that the presence of “mannish” or “man-hating” lesbians would hinder their cause.

The notion that a lesbian aesthetic or “agenda” would compromise feminists’ political power or mar their image in the broader culture was debated in many circles at the time, but few went so far as to overtly exclude lesbians. Friedan did, however. She severed ties with some known lesbians, and resisted affiliation with lesbian organizations. Del Martin, longtime activist and founder of the Daughters of Bilitis, the first official lesbian organization in the country, recalled, “Betty Friedan was such a homophobe. She was so afraid of the stigma lesbians might bring to the organization." Friedan even deleted references to lesbian organizations from the program for the First Congress to Unite Women the same year.

The homophobia of more conservative feminists was an unfortunate hurdle (and a nuisance) to many lesbian feminists, but when, at a 1969 NOW meeting, Friedan referred to the lesbian contingent as a “lavender menace,” some thought she’d taken it too far. Within the year, however, NOW had adopted a resolution recognizing lesbian rights as “a legitimate concern of feminism.”

 

 

Advocate Magazine: Women of the Year

National Organization for Women

Women’s Issues Websites

Indigo Girls: Go (March for Our Lives)

Let's Talk Comp-Het

Scene From Freeheld: Wanna Bet?

Warrior Women are the Role Models We Need

Info: Lesbian Issues

Gloria Steinem: Why You Should Be a Feminist

Tricia Yearwood: Every Girl in This Town

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Woman of the Year

My Out Spirit: Women’s Issues

Wikipedia: Lesbian Feminism

It's Time for LGBTQ Women to Claim Our Seats at the Table

How Toxic Masculinity Harms Women

Jennifer Nettles: I Can Do Hard Things

Women React to Trump’s Sexism

The Year Women Found Their Rage

Feminist Current: Lesbianism Under Attack

Gal Pals and Compulsory Heterosexuality

Trump's List of Nasty Women

Gloria Steinem: Feminist Icon

Four Non Blondes: What's Up

Highwomen Music Video: Redesigning Women

CompHet: Compulsory Heterosexuality

 


 

Here's to Strong Women

 

"Well behaved women rarely make history."
-Eleanore Roosevelt


"I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong."
-Audrey Hepburn

"Here's to strong women. May we know them.  May we be them.  May we raise them."

-Quote

"I am deliberate and afraid of nothing."
-Audre Lorde

 

"We need women who are so strong they can be gentle, so educated they can be humble, so fierce they can be compassionate, so passionate they can be rational, so disciplined they can be free."

-Kavita Ramdas

"Do not tame the wolf inside you just because you've met someone who doesn't have the courage to handle you."
-Belle Estreller

“The day will come when men will recognize woman as his peer, not only at the fireside, but in councils of the nation. Then, and not until then, will there be the perfect comradeship, the ideal union between the sexes that shall result in the highest development of the race.”
-Susan B. Anthony

"A strong woman is one who feels deeply and loves fiercely. Her tears flow as abundantly as her laughter. A strong woman is both soft and powerful. She is both practical and spiritual. A strong woman in her essence is a gift to the world.”
-Native American Saying

"She was brave and strong and broken all at once."
-Anna Funder

 

 

Advocate Magazine: Women of the Year

Habits of Mentally Strong Women

Info: Lesbian Issues

British Artist: Amy Blackwell

GoMag: Cultural Roadmap for City Girls Everywhere

Gloria Steinem: Feminist Icon

About Relationships: Lesbian Life

Throw Like a Girl

Highwomen: Redesigning Women

What is Transmisogyny?

HRC: How to Make Your Feminism Trans Inclusive

Lesbian Activist Fighting for All women's Rights

Is Feminism a Dirty Word?

Info: Definition of Lesbian

How Toxic Masculinity Harms Women

CNN: Nobel Peace Prize for Fight Against Sexual Violence

NY Times: Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to Yazidi Activist and Congolese Doctor

Taylor Swift: I'd Be The Man

Let's Talk Comp-Het

Gloria Steinem: Why You Should Be a Feminist

Meredith Brooks: Bitch

Guardian: Nobel Peace Prize Won by Mukwege and Murad

The Story of Lilith

 

 

Women's March 2018

 

The second annual Women's March took place on Saturday, January 20 and Sunday, January 21, 2018 in various US cities, including Washington DC, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Austin, Seattle, and Las Vegas. In the same spirit as last year's event, the Women's March was a demonstration for human rights and other issues, including women's rights, immigration reform, healthcare reform, LGBTQ rights, racial equality, voter empowerment, and sexual harassment.

 



Since the last protest march, a deluge of revelations about powerful men abusing women, leading to the #MeToo movement, has pushed activists to demand deeper social and political change. Progressive women are eager to build on the movement and translate their enthusiasm into electoral victories in this year’s midterm elections.

More than 200,000 protesters attended the march in New York. 600,000 attended the march in Los Angeles. And organizers of the Chicago march said 300,000 attended that event. As with last year's event, much of the protest centered on President Trump's ongoing disrespectful remarks about women and minorities.

Melissa Etheridge and Gay Men's Chorus at Women's March

NY Times: Thousands Participate in Women's March

Amazing Signs From the Women's March

CNN: Women's March Draws Big Crowds

Kids Protesting at Women's March

Huff Post: Great Protest Signs From Women's March

CNN: The Future is Female

 

 

Phenomenal Women

 

"Do not allow people to dim your shine because they’re blinded. Tell them to put on some sunglasses."

-Lady Gaga

"Men may have discovered fire. But women discovered how to play with it."

-Quote

"I am a woman phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that's me."
-Maya Angelou

"I'm tough. I'm ambitious. And I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay."
-Madonna

"At present, our country needs a women's idealism and determination."
-Shirley Chisholm

"Strong women don't have attitudes. We have standards."
-Marilyn Monroe

"I am a woman with thoughts and questions and shit to say. I say if I am beautiful. I say if I am strong. You will not determine my story. I will."
-Amy Schumer

"Everyone wants a strong woman until she actually stands up, flexes her muscles, and projects her voice. Suddenly, she is too much. She has forgotten her place. You love those women as ideas, as fantasies, not as breathing, living humans threatening to be even better than you could ever be."
-The Minds Journal

"Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim."
-Nora Ephron

"My mother always told me, Hide your face, people are looking at you. I would reply, It doesn't matter. I am also looking at them."
-Malala

 

 

 

Women's March 2017

 

On Saturday, January 21, 2017, more than 2 million people across the world, led by hundreds of thousands who overwhelmed the nation's capital, protested the first full day of President Trump's tenure.

 

The Women's March was a worldwide protest to advocate legislation and policies regarding human rights and other issues, including women's rights, immigration reform, healthcare reform, the natural environment, LGBTQ rights, racial equality, freedom of religion, and workers' rights.

 

What began as a Facebook post by a Hawaii grandmother the day after Hillary Clinton's loss in November's election blossomed into a massive protest uniting people of all ages, races and religions who crowded downtown Washington. They called for a "revolution" as a bulwark against the new administration and the Republican-led Congress they fear will roll back reproductive, civil and human rights.

According to a sister march webpage, an estimated 2.6 million people took part in 673 marches in all 50 states and 32 countries, from Belarus to New Zealand — with the largest taking place in Washington.



The crowds were so large in some cities that marching was almost impossible. In Chicago, organizers halted the march and rallied at Grant Park instead as crowds swelled to 150,000, although thousands still marched. In New York City, the number was 400,000, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio; in Boston, media reported more than 100,000 people marching in Boston Common. In Oakland, Calif., police estimated that about 60,000 people took part in the women's march. Local media reports said that San Francisco’s rally later in the day may have attracted as many as 100,000.

Women and men across the country participated in a “Women's March on Washington” in the nation's capital the day after the inauguration as a rebuke to President-elect Donald Trump's incendiary remarks about women and minorities during his presidential campaign.

 



The undercurrent of the protest was heavily female-oriented, with women decrying Trump's comments about women, the uncertain future of access to birth control and abortion, and the fact that Hillary Clinton missed becoming the first woman to hold the presidency.

 

Hundreds of Cities Joined Women's March

Women's March was Therapy

Badass Signs From Women's March

Voices and Portraits From Women's March

Indigo Girls: Go (March for Our Lives)

Photos From Women's Marches Around the World

 

Feminist and Lesbian Separatism
 

Separatism
 

Lesbian separatism is a form of separatist feminism specific to lesbians. Separatism has been considered by lesbians as both a temporary strategy and as a lifelong practice, but mostly the latter. In separatist feminism, lesbianism is posited as a key feminist strategy that enables women to invest their energies in other women, creating new space and dialogue about women's relationships, and typically, limits their dealings with men.
 


Lesbian separatism became popular in the 1970s, as some lesbians doubted whether mainstream society or even the gay rights movement had anything to offer them. In 1970, seven women, including Del Martin, confronted the North Conference of Homophile [meaning homosexual] Organizations about the relevance of the gay rights movement to the women within it. The delegates passed a resolution in favor of women's liberation, but Martin felt they had not done enough and wrote "If That's All There Is", an influential 1970 essay in which she decried gay rights organizations as sexist. In the summer of 1971, a lesbian group calling themselves "The Furies" formed a commune open to lesbians only, where they put out a monthly newspaper. "The Furies" consisted of twelve women, aged 18-28, all feminists, all lesbians, all white, with three children among them. They shared chores and clothes, lived together, held some of their money in common, and slept on mattresses on a common floor. They also started a school to teach women auto and home repair so they would not be dependent on men. The newspaper lasted from January 1972 to June 1973; the commune itself ended in 1972.

Charlotte Bunch, an early member of "The Furies", viewed separatist feminism as a strategy, a "first step" period, or temporary withdrawal from mainstream activism to accomplish specific goals or enhance personal growth. Other lesbians, such as Lambda Award winning author Elana Dykewomon, have chosen separatism as a lifelong practice.

 

In addition to advocating withdrawal from working, personal or casual relationships with men, "The Furies" recommended that Lesbian Separatists relate "only (with) women who cut their ties to male privilege" and suggested that "as long as women still benefit from heterosexuality, receive its privileges and security, they will at some point have to betray their sisters, especially Lesbian sisters who do not receive those benefits".

 


This was part of a larger idea that Bunch articulated in Learning from Lesbian Separatism, that "in a male-supremacist society, heterosexuality is a political institution" and the practice of separatism is a way to escape its domination.

In her 1988 book, Lesbian Ethics: Towards a New Value, lesbian philosopher Sarah Lucia Hoagland alludes to lesbian separatism's potential to encourage lesbians to develop healthy community ethics based on shared values. Hoagland articulates a distinction (originally noted by Lesbian Separatist author and anthologist Julia Penelope) between a lesbian subculture and a lesbian community; membership in the subculture being "defined in negative terms by an external, hostile culture", and membership in the community being based on "the values we believe we can enact here".

Bette Tallen believes that lesbian separatism, unlike some other separatist movements, is "not about the establishment of an independent state, it is about the development of an autonomous self-identity and the creation of a strong solid lesbian community".

Lesbian historian Lillian Faderman describes the separatist impulses of lesbian feminism which created culture and cultural artifacts as "giving love between women greater visibility" in broader culture. Faderman also believes that lesbian feminists who acted to create separatist institutions did so to "bring their ideals about integrity, nurturing the needy, self-determination and equality of labor and rewards into all aspects of institution-building and economics".

The practice of Lesbian separatism sometimes incorporates concepts related to queer nationalism and political lesbianism. Some individuals who identify as Lesbian separatists are also associated with the practice of Dianic paganism.

 


 

Lesbian Feminism

Lesbian Activist Fighting for All women's Rights

Essay by Adrienne Rich: Compulsory Heterosexuality & Lesbian Existence

Womyn's Land

Info: Lesbian Issues

Gal Pals and Compulsory Heterosexuality

Backstory: Womyn
Gloria Steinem: Why You Should Be a Feminist

Herstory Project: Feminism and Lesbianism

Article: Lesbian Separatism

Lesbians in the 1960s Feminist Movement

Let's Talk Comp-Het

 

Elsewhere, lesbian feminists have situated female separatism as quite a mainstream thing and have explored the mythology surrounding it. Marilyn Frye's (1978) essay Notes on Separatism and Power is one such example. She posits female separatism as a strategy practiced by all women, at some point, and present in many feminist projects (one might cite women's refuges, electoral quotas or women's studies programs). She argues that it is only when women practice it, self-consciously as separation from men, that it is treated with controversy (or as she suggests hysteria). On the other hand, male separatism (one might cite gentleman's clubs, labor unions, sports teams, the military and, more arguably, decision-making positions in general) is seen as quite a normal, even expedient phenomenon.

Still, other lesbian feminists put forward a notion of "tactical separatism" from men, arguing for and investing in things like women's sanctuaries and consciousness-raising groups, but also exploring everyday practices to which women may temporarily retreat or practice solitude from men and masculinity.

Margaret Sloan-Hunter compared lesbian separatism to black separatism. In her work Making Separatist Connections: The Issue is Woman Identification she stated: "If Lesbian separatism fails it will be because women are so together that we will just exude woman identification wherever we go. But since sexism is much older than racism, it seems that we must for now embrace separatism, at least psychically, for health and consciousness sake. This is a revolution, not a public relations campaign, we must keep reminding ourselves."

 

 

Womyn

 

"Womyn" is an alternate spelling of the word "woman." The term is sometimes used by some feminist and lesbian separatist groups as a nonsexist spelling of "woman" in order to deliberately avoid the suffix "man." The term has been tied to the concept of feminism as a form of the word "woman" without patriarchal connotations. The term is sometimes used in labeling certain academic programs, categories of literature, concert events, festivals, interest groups, support groups, and communities/communes related to feminist or lesbian issues.
 

Womyn's Land

 

Womyn's land is an intentional community organized by lesbian separatists to establish counter-cultural, women-centered space, without the presence of men. These lands were the result of a social movement of the same name that developed in the 1970s in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and western Europe. Many still exist today. Womyn's land-based communities and residents are loosely networked through social media; print publications such as newsletters; Maize: A Lesbian Country Magazine; Lesbian Natural Resources, a not-for-profit organization that offers grants and resources; and regional and local gatherings.

Womyn's lands practice various forms of lesbian separatism, an idea which emerged as a result of the Radical Feminist movement in the late 1960s. Lesbian separatism is based on the idea that women must exist separately from men, socially and politically, in order to achieve the goals of feminism. These separatist communities exist as a way for women to achieve female liberation by separating themselves from mainstream patriarchal society. Men are not allowed to live in these communities, but a few lands allow men to visit.  Some communities ban male infants and/or male relatives.


 

Woman-Identified Woman
 

If the founding of the lesbian feminist movement could be pinpointed at a specific moment, it would probably be May 1970, when Radicalesbians, an activist group of 20 lesbians led by lesbian novelist Rita Mae Brown, took over the Congress to Unite Women, a women's conference in New York City. Uninvited, they lined up on stage wearing matching T-shirts inscribed with the words "Lavender Menace", and demanded the microphone to read aloud to an audience of 400 their essay "The Woman-Identified Woman", which laid out the main precepts of their movement. Later on, Adrienne Rich incorporated this concept in her essay "Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence", in which she unpacks the idea that patriarchy dictates women to be focused on men or to be "men-identified women. Becoming women-identified women, i.e. changing the focus of attention and energy from men to women, is a way to resist the patriarchal oppression".

Contrary to some popular beliefs about "man-hating butch dykes", lesbian feminist theory does not support the concept of female masculinity. Proponents like Sheila Jeffreys have argued that "all forms of masculinity are problematic".

This is one of the principal areas in which lesbian feminism differs from queer theory, perhaps best summarized by Judith Halberstam's quip that "If Sheila Jeffreys didn't exist, Camille Paglia would have had to invent her."

Lesbian Feminism

Lesbian Activist Fighting for All women's Rights

Essay by Adrienne Rich: Compulsory Heterosexuality & Lesbian Existence

Womyn's Land

Info: Lesbian Issues

Gal Pals and Compulsory Heterosexuality

Backstory: Womyn
Gloria Steinem: Why You Should Be a Feminist

Herstory Project: Feminism and Lesbianism

Article: Lesbian Separatism

Lesbians in the 1960s Feminist Movement

Let's Talk Comp-Het

 

 

What is Transmisogyny?


The term "transmisogyny" describes so much of what we see in the cultural and systemic treatment of trans women in our culture and ties in so clearly with feminism, and yet it’s not a word that many people know about or understand.

You may have heard of transphobia: the discrimination of and negative attitudes toward transgender people based on their gender expression.

And you’ve likely heard of misogyny: the hatred and denigration of women and characteristics deemed feminine.

Transmisogyny, then, is the confluence of these: the negative attitudes, expressed through cultural hate, individual and state violence, and discrimination directed toward trans women and trans and gender non-conforming people on the feminine end of the gender spectrum.

 

Transfeminist theorist and author Julia Serano argues in her book Whipping Girl that transphobia is rooted in sexism, and locates the origins of both transphobia and homophobia in what she calls "oppositional sexism," the belief that male and female are "rigid, mutually exclusive categories, each possessing a unique and nonoverlapping set of attributes, aptitudes, abilities, and desires." Serano contrasts oppositional sexism with "traditional sexism," the belief that males and masculinity are superior to females and femininity. Furthermore, she writes that transphobia is fueled by insecurities people have about gender and gender norms.

 

What is Transmisogyny?

My Out Spirit: Women’s Issues

Gloria Steinem: Why You Should Be a Feminist

Let's Talk Comp-Het

Wikipedia: Lesbian Feminism

HRC: How to Make Your Feminism Trans Inclusive

PBS Video: Queer Feminist Punk Rocker

It's Time for LGBTQ Women to Claim Our Seats at the Table

How Toxic Masculinity Harms Women

Jennifer Nettles: I Can Do Hard Things

Gal Pals and Compulsory Heterosexuality

Women React to Trump’s Sexism

Highwomen: Redesigning Women

The Year Women Found Their Rage

CompHet: Compulsory Heterosexuality

Tricia Yearwood: Every Girl in This Town

Gloria Steinem: Feminist Icon

Feminist Current: Lesbianism Under Attack

Trump's List of Nasty Women

Rachel Vorona Cote: The Right to Be Too Much

Warrior Women are the Role Models We Need

 

 

Women of Indomitable Will

 

"You have to learn to get up from the table when love is no longer being served."
-Nina Simone

"I am mine before I am anyone else's."
-Nayyirah Waheed


"Any woman who chooses is a strong woman. A strong woman chooses to follow her dreams and chooses to sacrifice her dreams. A strong woman chooses to build her career and chooses to take care of her family. A strong woman chooses to speak up and chooses to stay quiet. A strong woman chooses to be herself and chooses to sacrifice herself."
-The Minds Journal

"Never apologize for being sensitive or emotional. Let this be a sign that you’ve got a big heart and aren’t afraid to let others see it. Showing your emotions is a sign of strength."
-Brigitte Nicole

 

"Anytime someone tells me I can’t do something, I want to do it more."

-Taylor Swift

"You were wild once. Don't let them tame you."
-Isadora Duncan

"The world needs strong women. Women who will lift and build others, who will love and be loved. Women who live bravely, both tender and fierce. Women of indomitable will."
-Amy Tenney

"Strong women only intimidate weak men."

-Quote

"Tremendous amounts of talent are being lost to our society just because that talent wears a skirt."
-Shirley Chisholm

"I became a lesbian because of women, because women are beautiful strong, and compassionate."
-Rita Mae Brown

"The most alluring thing a woman can have is confidence."

-Beyoncé

 

"We are powerful because we have survived."

-Audre Lorde

 

 

Lesbian Continuum

"Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence" is a 1980 essay by Adrienne Rich, published in her 1986 book Blood, Bread, and Poetry.

Rich argues that heterosexuality is a violent political institution making way for the "male right of physical, economical, and emotional access" to women. She urges women to direct their energies towards other women rather than men, and portrays lesbianism as an extension of feminism. Rich challenges the notion of women's dependence on men as social and economic supports, as well as for adult sexuality and psychological completion. She calls for what she describes as a greater understanding of lesbian experience, and believes that once such an understanding is obtained, these boundaries will be widened and women will be able to experience the "erotic" in female terms.

In order to gain this physical, economical, and emotional access for women, Rich lays out a framework developed by Kathleen Gough (both a social anthropologist and feminist) that lists "eight characteristics of male power in archaic and contemporary societies." Along with the framework given, Rich sets to define the term lesbianism by giving two separate definitions for the term. Lesbian existence, she suggests, is “both the fact of the historical presence of lesbians and our continuing creation of the meaning of that existence. The other, lesbian continuum, refers to the overall "range (through each woman’s life and throughout history) of woman-identified experiences, not simply the fact that a woman has had or consciously desired genital sexual experience with another woman." Below are the characteristics in which male power has demonstrated the suppression of female sexuality.

 


--To deny women their own sexuality: destruction of sexuality displayed throughout history in sacred documents.

--Forcing male sexuality upon women: rape, incest, torture, a constant message that men are better, and superior in society to women.

--Exploiting their labor to control production: women have no control over choice of children, abortion, birth control and furthermore, no access to knowledge of such things.

--Control over their children: lesbian mothers seen as unfit for motherhood, malpractice in society and the courts to further benefit the man.

--Confinement: women unable to choice their own wardrobe (feminine dress seen as the only way), full economic dependence on the man, limited life in general.

--Male transactions: women given away by fathers as gifts or hostesses by the husband for their own benefit, pimping women out.

--Cramp women’s creativeness: male seen as more assimilated in society (they can participate more, culturally more important).

--Men withholding attainment of knowledge: “Great Silence” (never speaking about lesbian existence in history), discrimination against women professionals.

 

 

 

Feminist Views on Sexual Orientation

Advocate Magazine: Women of the Year

Let's Talk Comp-Het

Conflict in the Feminist/Lesbian Movement in the 60s

Dispute Between Radical Feminism and Transgenderism

Lesbians Fight Against TERFs

Indigo Girls: Go (March for Our Lives)

Info: Transgender Issues

Queer Women of the Suffragette Movement

Lesbianism and Feminism

Gloria Steinem: Feminist Icon

Lesbians in the 1960s Feminist Movement

Suffragette History and Lesbian Drama

Suffragettes and Lesbians

Recognizing the Contribution of Lesbian Suffragettes

Lesbian Activist Fighting for All women's Rights

Queer Badass Suffragettes Made History

CompHet: Compulsory Heterosexuality

It's Time for LGBTQ Women to Claim Our Seats at the Table

Info: Lesbian Issues

Video Talk: What Are TERFs?

Feminists Must Stand Up for Trans Rights

 

 

Female Gaze

The female gaze is a feminist film theoretical term representing the perspective or viewpoint or feelings of the female viewer. It is a response to feminist film theorist Laura Mulvey's term, "the male gaze", which represents not only the gaze of a heterosexual male viewer but also the gaze of the male character and the male creator of the film. In contemporary usage, the female gaze has been used to refer to the perspective a female filmmaker (screenwriter/director/producer) brings to a film that would be different from a male view of the subject. The male gaze is so ubiquitous it’s taken for granted and once you’ve seen it, you can’t un-see it. But there’s a new media buzzword emerging — “the female gaze” — and it’s much trickier to define.

 

So, if the male gaze objectifies women, then the female gaze must be the mirror opposite — right?  Bring on the close-ups up rippling pecs and washboard abs. We’re finally free to objectify man-parts with wild, feminist abandon! Er, not quite. The answer is a bit more complicated.
 


 

The “female gaze” isn’t about asserting female dominance on-screen. And it doesn’t mean that therefore we get to “man-jectify” men in reverse. (Magic Mike, while a cinematic masterpiece to some, is not a good example of the female gaze in practice). That’s because the male gaze isn’t just about objectifying women. A male perspective doesn’t have to mean women are objectified (even though, the majority of the time, this is true). It’s a way to explain a limited male view, where the rest of the characters exist mainly to serve him, his interests, and his storyline. If the male gaze is all about what men see, then the female gaze is about making the audience feel what women see and experience.

 

Adopting the language of psychoanalysis, Mulvey argued that traditional Hollywood films respond to a deep-seated drive known as scopophilia: the sexual pleasure involved in looking. Mulvey argued that most popular movies are filmed in ways that satisfy masculine scopophilia. Although sometimes described as the “male gaze”, Mulvey’s concept is more accurately described as a heterosexual, masculine gaze. Visual media that respond to masculine voyeurism tends to sexualise women for a male viewer. As Mulvey wrote, women are characterised by their “to-be-looked-at-ness” in cinema. Woman is “spectacle”, and man is “the bearer of the look."

 

Woman's films were a genre that focused on female leads, showing the female as a diegetic story-teller rather than that of a spectacle. Movies such as Rebecca and Stella Dallas are examples of such films in which the traditional narrative is told through the female protagonist. This genre of film has evolved into modern day "chick flicks" such as 27 Dresses and The Devil Wears Prada. The films are meant to represent the desires of female protagonists and, therefore, are to represent the desires of the female movie-viewer.

 


Consider the female gaze in the chick flick genre, with specific attention to the attire women wear. Spectacle overrules plot in films such as The Awful Truth. Irene Dunne's wardrobe is regarded as a central aspect of the film. The different dresses that Dunn wears are extravagant but not sexualized. While the clothing may be regarded as comical, they are also supportive to Dunn's independence and femininity. Cohen notes that in the film The Wedding Planner, Jennifer Lopez is fully clothed throughout the entire film. The clothes, as in The Awful Truth, are regarded as comical yet they catch the viewer's eye without sexualizing her.

Critics have also focused attention on the presence of the female gaze in contemporary cinema and television, in works such as The Handmaid's Tale, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, I Love Dick, Frozen, Hunger Games, Fleabag, and The Love Witch. The controversial lesbian drama film Blue Is the Warmest Colour received considerable critical comment for the dominance of the male gaze and lack of female gaze, with some reviewers calling it a "patriarchal gaze". The author of the book upon which the film was based was among the harshest critics, saying, "It appears to me that what was missing on the set was... lesbians."

 

Male Gaze and Female Gaze

Female Gaze: Gender Expectations

So What is the Female Gaze?
Interview: Conversation with Laura Mulvey

Female Gaze Explained

Gal Pals and Compulsory Heterosexuality

Defining the Female Gaze

Male Gaze Explained

Film Theory 101: Laura Mulvey and The Male Gaze

 

 

Rift Between Lesbians and Feminists

While lesbians have always certainly been an active part of the overall feminist movement (including the women's liberation movement, the suffragette movement, and other political efforts to achieve women's right to vote and other women's equality issues), lesbians have not always been accepted or well-received in feminist circles. This dispute has sometimes been described as a culture clash between feminists and lesbians and sheds light on the conflict of values, priorities, and lifestyles between the two groups.

 

The emergence of queer theory in the 1990s was built upon certain principles of lesbian feminism, including the critique of compulsory heterosexuality, the understanding of gender as defined in part by heterosexuality, and the understanding of sexuality as institutional instead of personal. Despite this, queer theory is largely set in opposition to lesbian feminism. Whereas lesbian feminism is traditionally critical of BDSM, butch/femme identities and relationships, transgenderism, transsexuality, pornography, and prostitution, queer theory tends to embrace them.

 

Queer theorists embrace gender fluidity and subsequently have critiqued lesbian feminism as having an essentialist understanding of gender that runs counter to their stated aims. Lesbian feminists have critiqued queer theory as implicitly male-oriented and a recreation of the male-oriented Gay Liberation Front that lesbian feminists initially sought refuge from.


Because of its focus on equality in sexual relationships, lesbian feminism has traditionally been opposed to any form of BDSM that involve perpetuation of gender stereotypes.

 

 

 

Bisexuality is rejected by some lesbian feminists as being a reactionary and anti-feminist backlash to lesbian feminism. A number of women who were at one time involved in lesbian feminist activism came out as bisexual after realizing their attractions to men. A widely studied example of lesbian-bisexual conflict within feminism was the Northampton Pride March during the years between 1989 and 1993, where many feminists involved debated over whether bisexuals should be included and whether or not bisexuality was compatible with feminism. Common lesbian feminist critiques leveled at bisexuality were that bisexuality was anti-feminist, that bisexuality was a form of false consciousness, and that bisexual women who pursue relationships with men were "deluded and desperate." However, tensions between bisexual feminists and lesbian feminists have eased since the 1990s, as bisexual women have become more accepted within the feminist community.

Though lesbian feminists views vary, there is a specific lesbian feminist canon which rejects transgenderism, transsexuals and transvestites, positing trans people as, at best, gender dupes or functions of a discourse on mutilation; or at worst, shoring up support for traditional and violent gender norms. This is a position marked by intense controversy.

 

The term TERF was developed to label this type of feminist attitude towards transgender people.  The acronym means Transgender Exclusionary Radical Feminist.  Sometimes, the less derogatory term, Gender Critical Feminist, is used instead of TERF.

 

Among the more famous (or infamous) TERFs is JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series.

 

These views on transgenderism and transsexuality have been criticized by many in the LGBTQ and feminist communities as transphobic and constituting hate speech against transsexual men and women. Lesbian feminism is sometimes associated with opposition to sex reassignment surgery; some lesbian feminist analyses see sex reassignment surgery as a form of violence akin to BDSM.

 

Video Talk: What Are TERFs?

JK Rowling Comes Out as a TERF

What Does it Mean to be a TERF?

JK Rowling: Transphobic Manifesto

HRC: How to Make Your Feminism Trans Inclusive

What is Transmisogyny?

 

JK Rowling: TERF Wars

 

JK Rowling became famous by penning the Harry Potter book series, which presents a fantastical world that shaped the childhoods people across the globe. More recently, she's been making headlines for writings about her personal views regarding transgender issues.

Rowling made a statement with the caption "TERF Wars." The statement came after Rowling caught heat for issuing transphobic remarks, including mocking the phrase "people who menstruate" and saying that "trans activism" is harming women.

In particular, Rowling took issue with being labeled a TERF, or trans-exclusionary radical feminist. The label "TERF" itself is considered to be a slur by some self-identified gender critical feminists. However, many people who use the term say those who are labeled TERFs make transphobic statements, claim transgender women don't belong in women's spaces, and imply that acknowledging the existence of transgender people harms women's rights.

 

 

National Organization for Women

Women’s Issues Websites

Taylor Swift: I'd Be The Man

Warrior Women are the Role Models We Need

Tricia Yearwood: Every Girl in This Town

Advocate Magazine: Women of the Year

What is Transmisogyny?

PBS Video: Queer Feminist Punk Rocker

My Out Spirit: Women’s Issues

Sisters Are Doin' for Themselves: Annie Lennox and Aretha Franklin

Video Talk: What Are TERFs?

HRC: How to Make Your Feminism Trans Inclusive

Highwomen Music Video: Redesigning Women

Wikipedia: Lesbian Feminism

It's Time for LGBTQ Women to Claim Our Seats at the Table

Lady Gaga: Till it Happens to You

How Ramona Quimby Taught a Generation of Girls to Embrace Brashness

Four Non Blondes: What's Up

How Toxic Masculinity Harms Women

Jennifer Nettles: I Can Do Hard Things

Gal Pals and Compulsory Heterosexuality

Leyla Blue: Fuck Yourself

Women React to Trump’s Sexism

GoMag: Cultural Roadmap for City Girls Everywhere

Throw Like a Girl

Lesbians in the 1960s Feminist Movement

Meredith Brooks: Bitch

The Year Women Found Their Rage

Feminist Current: Lesbianism Under Attack

The Story of Lilith

 

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