Lesbian-Feminist Links

"1970s Lesbian Feminism" by Ara Wilson, The Feminist eZine. The lesbian-feminist movement in the 1970s was not just a group of women who happened to be both lesbians and feminists—on the contrary, it was a group of women who asserted that their lesbianism was a result of their feminism, and that all women can and should choose to become lesbians in order to resist having their love lives dominated by patriarchal power.

"Lesbians in Revolt: Male Supremacy Quakes and Quivers" by Charlotte Bunch, writing on behalf of the Furies Collective, The Furies: Lesbian/Feminist Monthly, Vol.1, January 1972, pp.8-9. "Lesbianism is a political choice. . . . Whether consciously or not, by her actions, the Lesbian has recognized that giving support and love to men over women perpetuates the system that oppresses her. If women do not make a commitment to each other, which includes sexual love, we deny ourselves the love and value traditionally given to men."

"The Woman-Identified Woman" by the Radicalesbians, 1970. This essay by the Radicalesbians (led by Rita Mae Brown, author of many novels including the acclaimed Rubyfruit Jungle) helped to start the lesbian-feminist movement. "What is a lesbian? A lesbian is the rage of all women condensed to the point of explosion. She is the woman who, often beginning at an extremely early age, acts in accordance with her inner compulsion to be a more complete and freer human being than her society—perhaps then, but certainly later—cares to allow her."

"Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence" by Adrienne Rich, Onlywomen Press. "The assumption that 'most women are innately heterosexual' stands as a theoretical and political stumbling block for many women. It remains a tenable assumption, partly because lesbian existence has been written out of history or catalogued under disease; partly because it has been treated as exceptional rather than intrinsic; partly because to acknowledge that for women heterosexuality may not be a 'preference' at all but something that has had to be imposed, managed, organized, propagandized and maintained by force is an immense step to take if you consider yourself freely and 'innately' heterosexual. Yet the failure to examine heterosexuality as an institution is like failing to admit that the economic system called capitalism or the caste system of racism is maintained by a variety of forces, including both physical violence and false consciousness. To take the step of questioning heterosexuality as a 'preference' or 'choice' for women—and to do the intellectual and emotional work that follows—will call for a special quality of courage in heterosexually identified feminists but I think the rewards will be great: a freeing-up of thinking, the exploring of new paths, the shattering of another great silence, new clarity in personal relationships." Note: This copy of the essay was obviously transferred to the computer via text-scan and the characters in a portion near the end of the essay are garbled.

"My Sexual Revolution" by Julie Bindel, The Guardian, 30 January 2009. "The RFs [radical feminists] told me that, to them, lesbianism was a choice that women could make, and not a 'condition' we are born with. 'All women can be lesbians' was the mantra. I loved the sense that I had chosen my sexuality and rather than being ashamed or apologetic about it, as many women were, I could be proud, and see it as a privilege."

"Lesbian Feminism and Queer Theory: Another 'Battle of the Sexes'?" by Amy T. Goodloe, 1994

"Choice, Biology, and the Causes of Homosexuality: Towards A Radical Theory of Queer Identity" by Amy T. Goodloe, 1994

"Lesbian Identity and the Politics of Butch-Femme Roles" by Amy T. Goodloe, 1993

Ayako Hattori's Lesbian Feminism in Japan

"10 Questions About Lesbians" FAQ from the International Lesbian Information Service. "If a woman chooses to be a lesbian, she is one. Many women do not have a free choice about the way they want to live and love, but they may be lesbians also. . . . There would be many more lesbians if women had a free choice. . . . But in some societies women are free to choose, while in others women have little choice about how they will live."

"Discursive Categories and Desire" by Sara Mills and Christine A. White, from the book Language and Desire, edited by Keith Harvey and Celia Shalom, 1997. "Many heterosexual feminists feel that their choice of sexuality is under critical scrutiny: firstly, the choice of a male lover when they could have (should have) chosen a female one, because heterosexuality oppresses women; remaining straight means that the progress of heterosexuality as an institution continues unchecked. . . . However, whilst heterosexuals may see an occasional lesbian relationship as an attractive option, one lesbian respondent noted that there was no tangible gain in the wider world for lesbians, for example, no tax benefits, no security, no funeral rights."

"Compulsory Heterosexuality and Psych/atrophy: Some Thoughts on Lesbian Feminist Theory" by Betsy Ettore, from Women's Studies International Forum, Vol. 8 No. 5, 1985, pp. 421-428.

"From Here to Queer: Radical Feminism, Postmodernism, and the Lesbian Menace (Or, Why Can't a Woman Be More Like a Fag?)" by Suzanna Danuta Walters, from Signs, Vol. 21 No. 4, page 830, Chicago, Summer 1996.

"Orchids in the Arctic: The Predicament of Women Who Love Men" by Kay Leigh Hagan

Dyke Feminism—the homepage of a lesbian-feminist mailing list.

"Three Pieces from a Serbian Lesbian Feminist: There are No Homosexuals Back Home" by Zorica Mrsevic

"Patriarchy, Sexual Identity, and the Sexual Revolution" by Ann Ferguson, from Signs, Vol. 7 No. 1, 1981, pp. 158-172.

"Lesbianism: Dispelling the Myths" by Christine Szikla, 1996

"Putting the Politics Back into Lesbianism" by Janice G. Raymond, from Women's Studies International Forum, Vol. 12 No. 2, 1989, pp. 149-156. (Yes, this is the same Janice Raymond who's infamous in the transgendered community for her virulent transphobia. However, she's lesbian by choice and so her writings on choice still need to be included here.)

"Lesbian Ethics: Beginning Remarks" by Sarah Lucia Hoagland, from Women's Studies International Forum, Vol. 11 No. 6, 1988, pp. 531-544.

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