xt705q4rmz7c https://nyx.uky.edu/dips/xt705q4rmz7c/data/mets.xml Lexington, KY Pride Community Services Organization 198803 This collection contains newsletters produced by the Lexington, Kentucky based Pride Community Services Organization. Included are publications from the organization through multiple name changes, such as LinQ magazine (July 2013-2016); the GLSO (Gay and Lesbian Services Organization) News (August 1986-June 2013); the GSO (Gay Services Organization) newsletter (1979-July 1986). Accession number 2016ms055. newsletters  English Pride Community Services Organization Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Pride Community Services Organization publications LGBTQ community--Kentucky LGBTQ culture LGBTQ newspapers Gay men Lesbians Bisexual people Transgender people Sexual minorities Gender identity Drag culture GLSO News, March 1988 text GLSO News, March 1988 1988 2019 true xt705q4rmz7c section xt705q4rmz7c Free at Selected Business Locations
Home Delivery at $5 per year
LEXINGTON GAY/LESBIAN SERVICES ORGANIZATION, P.0. BOX 111571, LEXINGTON, KY 110575
—
AVOL BENEFIT A GRAND SUCCESS! AIDS WORKPLACE PRINCIPLES
The AIDS Volunteers of Lexington IBM Corporation, the largest private
(AVOL) held a fund-raising benefit at Scott's employer in Lexington, has joined other major
home on the evening of January 20th. Five corporations to endorse the "AIDS Workplace
hundred invitations were mailed, over 250 Principles" established by the Citizen's
people attended, and $3,000 was raised for Commission on AIDS. Other prominent
local AIDS education and support activities. endorsers include ATET, Chemical Bank,
The excellent food, beverage and company Time, Warner-Lambert, Johnson 8 Johnson,
were the talk of the town during most of Dow Jones 8 Co., US News 8 World Report,
February. As AIDS continues to touch the and the City of New York.
lives of the gay community it's obvious local The principles stress that employees
gays, lesbians and their friends are prepared with AIDS are "entitled to the same rights and
to take the lead in providing education and opportunities as people with other serious or
support as has been the case in larger cities. life-threatening illnesses." The principles
The event was so successful that future reject discriminatory employment practices and
benefits are expected to draw larger crowds oppose HIV testing in either pre~employment
and generate more enthusiasm. or routine workplace physical exams. The
Special thanks are extended to everyone prinicples were formulated to "provide
who worked to organize the event, especially leadership" to the many companies which have
Scott who opened his very large home to an been groping for a policy to deal with AIDS in
overflow crowd. Numerous business owners the workplace.
contributed food and services and their The Citizens Commission on AIDS was
commitment is especially appreciated. A formed last year by a group of 17 foundations.
similar benefit is being considered to coincide It is an educational and advocacy organization
with Gay Pride Week. focusing on AIDS issues.
—
PREMARITAL HIV TESTING FLOPS IN ILLINOIS
A new Illinois law requiring HIV The law doesn't prohibit HIV positive
antibody testing for couples seeking marriage individuals from marrying, but it does require
licenses produced serious problems in the first proof of testing and the sharing of results
three weeks of its implementation [New York with the prospective spouse. In addition to
Times, 1/26/88]. straining the resources of clinics and hospitals
Cook County Hospital, the state's largest which serve low income people, there has been
hospital, stopped offering the antibody test to a drop in marriage license applications. In
engaged couples because the testing center CookCounty (which includes Chicago), where
was deluged with requests. Previously the nearly half of all Illinois marriages occur,
hospital offered the test and counseling on a marriage applications dropped during the first
voluntary basis at no charge. three weeks of January from 1,500 a year ago
Some couples simply are driving to other to 600 this year. Said Dr. Renslow Sherer,
states for marriage without a test. But acting director of the Cook County Hospital
officials worry that, without a free or low-cost AIDS program: “One of the chief ways to
alternative, poorer couples will decide not to limit AIDS is faithful monogamy, and here we
get married at all. Average cost for the test have a system that discourages that very
is $70, but some physicians charge up to $300. thing."
—

 l
FORWARD IN UNITY CONFERENCE

[:1 Please send me a free introductory
issue of GLSO News and information Nationally known lesbian and gay
on GLSO. political and organizational figures will be

among the dozens of speakers, workshop

I:I I'd like to become a voting Member facilitators and other resource persons
of GLSO, including home delivery providing leadership for FORWARD IN UNITY,
of the GLSO News and discounts a grassroots gay and lesbian leadership
at GLSO functions. My Membership conference. FORWARD IN UNITY will be held
fee of $10/year is enclosed. May 13-15, 1988 on the University of Minnesota

campus in Minneapolis.

I:I I don't wish to become a Member but More than three hundred people from
please send me the GLSO News each around the country are expected to attend.
month. I enclose the $5 annual fee. Conference leaders will include Karen Clark

(lesbian Minnesota legislator), John Bush

Name: (Black and White Men Together), Brian Coyle

' (gay Minneapolis City Council member), Gil

Gerald (National AIDS Network), Renee McCoy

Address: [National Coalition of Black Lesbians and
Gays), and representatives from the National

Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Lambda Legal

City, St, Zip: Defense Fund, and the Fairness Fund.

The principal goals of FORWARD IN

Mail to: Newsletter, P.O. Box 111471 UNITY are to provide skills, resources and

Lexington, KY 140575 networking opportunities to help participants
function as grassroot leaders in their own '
communities. The organizers hope to build on
the momentum generated by the March on

GLSO News is published monthly by the Washington, and will offer workshop topics to
Lexington Gay Services Organization, Inc. include addiction, aging, arts, coming out,
(d.b.a. Lexington Gay/Lesbian Services fundraising, health and AIDS, lesbianism,
Organization), Box 111471, Lexington, KY l40575 spiritualism, and violence.

Steve Savage, Editor A registration fee of $100 includes all

Craig Clere, Asst Editor, Events Calendar events and most meals. Reduced registration
Laura Joans, Asst Editor for the fees will be available for low income persons.

Esmerelda Collective (Women‘s News) Special rates have been arranged at the
Aunt Mary, Advice Columnist Holiday Inn Metrodome, and community housing
Additional Contributors: Dave, Debbie, will also be available. If interested, write for
Dennis, Craig, AVOL, The Advocate, NGLTF, registration information to FORWARD IN
WSJ, NYT, NAN, UK; Typists: Dave, Craig, UNITY, Box 300171, Minneapolis, MN 55H03.
Equipment: Dave, Karen; Typesetting: Matt;
Layout: Dave, Craig, Gerry; Mailing: Bill; NGLTF SEEKS VIOLENCE/HARASSMENT DATA
Courier: Barry: Folding 8 Stuffing: Mark,
Steve, Gerry, Dave, Jim, 8 John. The National Gay and Lesbian Task
Force (NCLTF) is preparing its annual audit
Views or opinions expressed in GLSO News are of anti-gay/lesbian harassment and violence.
those of the authors and do not necessarily Individuals aware of anti-gay/lesbian episodes
represent those of the Board of Directors. which occurred in the area during 1987 are
Submissions are welcome. All submissions encouraged to contact Kevin Berrill, NGLTF,
become the property of GLSO and must include 1517 U Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20009.
the full name and address of the author. NGLTF has contacted more than 150
Anonymous submissions are not accepted. The organizations across the U.S. requesting data
editorial staff reserves the right to alter any and information. They published similar
submissions [including advertising) to meet reports for 1985 and 1986, and found acts of
publishing requirements. harassment and violence more than doubled in
The placement of advertising in GLSO News 1986 from the level documented in 1985. This
does NOT denote a person's sexual orientation data is essential to lobbying for the federal
nor a business's customer preference. "Hate Crime Statistics Act.
2

 NATIONAL GAY AND LESBIAN TASK FORCE: A NATIONAL VOICE FOR US
By: Roger Doughty
The National Gay and Lesbian Task By organizing and working with a broad array
Force (NGLTF) has closed the books on a year of national organizations, NGLTF helped defeat
of unprecedented activism and growth. the proposal last Spring.
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., NGLTF's The Task Force pushed its legislative
full-time staff of ten won several major efforts beyond Washington. Early last year
victories for gay and lesbian rights, initiated NGLTF launched “The Privacy Project" to
local organizing projects across the country, spearhead repeal of sodomy laws remaining
and positioned itself for a stronger future. across the country. NGLTF concentrated much
”1987 was a benchmark year for the of its effort on Maryland where the last
Task Force," says Executive Director Jeffrey attempt at sodomy law repeal occurred ten
Levi. "We were not only able to step up our years ago. Coordinated by Sue Hyde, head of
involvement and success at both national and Privacy Project, the Task Force worked closely
grassroots levels, but also to put the Task with Maryland organizations. Although the
Force on a firm footing for future work.ll repeal effort failed, the momentum of the
During 1987, NGLTF continued to work effort is carrying over to the 1988 legislative
aggressively at the federal level to protect the session.
rights of gay men and lesbians, and to Privacy Project also laid the foundation
influence the government to respond to the for NGLTF's first statewide organizing efforts
. AIDS crisis. Prominent among NGLTF's in the South. In Tennessee, Hyde helped
legislative achievements was the passage of the form the Tennessee Gay 8 Lesbian Task Force,
“Hate Crimes Statistics Bill by the House a coalition of local groups organizing around
Judiciary Committee. (The measure currently sodomy law issues. This January the Project
has 91 co-sponsors in the full House). Having helped organize statewide meetings in Virginia
, documented reports of anti-gay and lesbian and North Carolina, and plans to use the
violence since 1981!, the Task Force pressed model developed in Tennessee to help launch
hard for the measure, which marks the first gay rights organizations in a number of
time the federal government has acknowledged Southern states.
the existence and seriousness of such crimes. Building on its successes last year,
Calling last Fall's vote "very gratifying," NGLTF approved a record $1.5 million budget
Anti-Violence Coordinator Kevin Berrill stated for 1988, and the organization looks toward
"this is a victory for all those concerned with still greater activism on gay and lesbian
ending crime motivated by bigotry." issues. "The challenges we face as gays and
The Task Force also lobbied forcefully lesbians are enormous," says Levi. "But
against the confirmation of Supreme Court we're ready to meet them, and to work toward
nominees Robert Bork and Anthony Kennedy, a time when we can live openly and free from
underscoring for the Senate their insensitivity violence and discrimination in all its forms."
to the privacy issues of concern to women,
gay men and lesbians. III“.
AIDS-related issues remained a top
priority, with lobbying campaigns aimed to GAYLAXSCHEDULED
dramatically increase federal funding for AIDS
research and treatment. The Task Force also The annual Unitarian/Universalist Gay
set as a top priority the guarantee of access Men's Conference will be held at Ferry Beach,
to quality care for all persons with AIDS. Saco, Maine, from August 20th through 27th.
NGLTF's Public Information Director notes that Celebrating the tenth year of the gathering,
"We're absolutely committed to insuring that gay men will assemble from across the nation
PWA's have equal access to the best health to celebrate their gayness, affirm their lives
care facilities available whether they live in and create a GAYLA community. All gay men
Buffalo, San Francisco, Omaha or New York." are welcome.
Recognizing that AIDS represents a
grave threat not only to the health of gay men For more information contact:
and lesbians but also to their civil rights, the David Smith
Task Force initiated a vigorous nationwide I4101 West Sunnyside Drive
campaign to defeat CDC proposed regulations Phoenix, AZ 85029
for expanded mandatory HIV-antibody testing. (602] 978-31431
—
3

 JESSE JACKSON RESPONDS T0 SURVEY Lesbian/Gay Families:

Presidential candidate Jesse Jackson's * Supports lesbian and gay partners
response to a survey circulated by the being afforded the benefits accorded to
National Gay 8 Lesbian Task Force lNCLTFl heterosexual partners.
demonstrates the candidate's strong support * His campaign platform recognizes
for civil rights for lesbians and gay men. diversity within the human family; supports
The candidate's responses in three key areas full civil rights for gay people.
are summarized. * Supports right of gay people to

designate survivors and dependents; supports
AIDS Policies: gay people's right to child custody.

* Supports National Academy of
Sciences $2 billion funding target but notes POLITICAL ACTIVISM AFTER THE MARCH
this may not be an adequate amount.

* Supports making catastrophic Images of strength and power which
insurance available as a right; supports were created last October during the March on
federally guaranteed access to treatments and Washington are being re-created around the
care; supports creation of stop-loss or country as gay rights activism increases. The
reinsurance pools. gay community is turning toward this response

* Believes we need to develop a because years of quiet lobbying for gay rights
national health care program funded federally have yielded more frustrating defeats than
and equally accessible to all. victories.

* Believes the burden of health care In November, 1986, California voters
coverage should be borne by the federal forcefully rejected Lyndon Larouche-backed
government, not the states. Proposition 6H which sought to quarantine

* Supports broad and frank AIDS AIDS victims. Gay activists rejoiced at their
education: Believes such education should victory. This year, however, has brought
"confront homophobia, irrational and divisive many legislative initiatives far more anti-gay.
fear, racism, and victim-blaming that impact The Larouche initiative is again on the
our efforts to combat this disease." California ballot, and so are two more anti-gay

* Supports federal legislation initiatives. In addition, more than 60 related
banning discrimination against people with bills are pending in the California legislature.
AIDS or HIV infection. In Massachusetts, more than 14,000

* Opposes the Justice Department's lesbians, gays, and supporters flooded the
interpretation that federal disability laws do statehouse on January thh. The protesters
not cover people with Ale or HIV infection. objected to the state senate‘s failure to pass a

* Supports Federal AIDS Policy Act, gay rights bill out of committee.

H.R. 3071/S.1575. Even in California gay leaders are

* Opposes mandatory testing. supporting civil disobedience which would have

* Supports creation of an office of been unheard of a year ago. A key test of
Gay/Lesbian Health v Concerns in the Public gay activism will occur in Sacramento on May
Health Service. 7th. The LA based Stonewall Democratic Club

has called for a massive demonstration for gay
Civil Rights: rights on the steps of the state Capitol.
Organizers predict 50,000 people will turn out,
* Supports passage of a federal gay with hundreds of civil disobedients lCDersl.
- lesbian rights bill and supports full civil and Further efforts in support of the
legal rights for lesbians and gay men; will Massachusetts bill are expected. However,
fight any restrictions based on sexual during this election year, it is not clear
orientation. whether it will pass through the legislature.

* ls committed to issuing an What is clear, however, is an emerging
Executive Order banning discrimination in the national consensus among gays and lesbians
federal government, including the military: that gay rights simply are not being promoted,
would extend order to cover all government and that the prospect of militant gays and
contractors; sees order being supplemented by lesbians in their neighborhood streets might
a Federal Gay - Lesbian Rights Bill. induce more homophobic legislators to be

responsive.
"
ll ‘ '

 —
US COURT OF APPEALS AFFIRMS RIGHT OF BIBLE STUDY GROUP FORMING
GAYS TO SERVE IN THE ARMY
A nondenominational Bible study and
A panel of the US Ninth Circuit Court of prayer group is being formed. A fundamental
Appeals has ruled in a 2-1 decision that the approach will be taken and the study will be
Army's blanket ban against having gays or guided by the individual needs of each
lesbians in its ranks violates the Constitution's member. Meetings are planned for Monday
guarantee of equal protection under the law. nights at 8 pm at Ted's home. For details call
The decision prohibits the armed forces Ted at 277-11684, Mon-Fri. 1~1l pm.
from discriminating against homosexuals as a
class of people. The Court carefully AIDS LAWS UNDER CONSIDERATION
distinguished its holding from the US Supreme IN FRANKFORT
Court's 1986 decision in the Hardwick sodomy
law challenge, saying the Army's regulation HB-ll6. Sponsored by Rep. Maggard,
discriminated not against historically prohibited presently before the Judicial Criminal
sexual activity, but against the status of Committee, would create a class D felony for
being homosexual. Presumably the Army might persons with AIDS to sell or donate blood.
still discharge people whom it can prove have HB-50. Sponsored by Reps. Mason and
committed sodomy, but it cannot do so simply P. Richardson, being considered by the Health
because they are homosexual. and Welfare Committee, proposes prohibiting
In its analysis, the court for the first persons exposed to or testing positive for HIV
time recognized homosexuals as a minority and other specified health conditions from
entitled to the same status under "equal donating blood, and prohibit transfusion of
protection" analysis as racial and ethnic blood or body parts from such people.
minorities, and aliens. It therefore applied HB—193. Rep. Burch presented this bill
"strict scrutiny" to determine whether the rule which is now before the Banking and
against gays was the only means of protecting Insurance Committee. It would prohibit health
a compelling governmental interest (presumably insurers from canceling insurance because the
a sodomy-free Army). In the absence of insured is diagnosed as having been exposed,
”suspect class" status, the court would only or has been exposed, to the AIDS virus.
have to find a "rational basis" for the Army's HB-522. Rep. Scorsone is sponsoring
rule. V this legislation to require state and local
The determination of whether a group health departments to develop plans to prevent
constitutes a ”suspect class'I is critical to a the spread of AIDS. The House recently
challenge of state action on federal passed this bill.
constitutional grounds. Where a suspect class 88-83. Reps. Travis, Stuart and Trevy
is affected and "strict scrutiny” given, the co-sponsored this bill requiring all marriage
rule is nearly always found to be license applicants to undergo the HIV test,
unconstitutional. Where no suspect class (or distribution of results to both the applicant
fundamental right) is affected, courts nearly and the intended spouse (the results will not
always find a rational basis for the rule. appear on the marriage certificate, however),
[Women have been determined through the prohibit granting of the license without the
wisdom of the US Supreme Court to possess HIV test, and provide for confidentiality.
"semi-suspect class" status, thus entitled to
less protection than Hispanics or aliens, but GAY LEGAL SERVICES PRESIDENT DIES
more than grocers or Stockbrokers. Under
the Ninth Circuit's reasoning lesbians would be On January 8, Dan Bradley, 117, former
entitled to greater protection.] head of the Legal Services Corporation, died
While the Ninth Circuit decision is .a of AIDS. He had headed the organization
great victory for gay rights, there are still which provides legal representation to the poor
several hurdles ahead. First, the entire Ninth in civil cases, and had served in both the
Circuit (as opposed to the three judge panel) Carter and Reagan administrations.
might vote to revise or overrule the panel Closeted until he left government service
decision. Second, the US Supreme Court in 1982, Bradley became active as a gay
might grant discretionary review. In the attorney in Miami. He served on the Human
Supreme Court, the decision could be a u—u Rights Campaign Fund, participated in civil
tie, with new Justice William Kennedy casting disobedience in Washington in June, 1987 and
the deciding vote. spoke at the March on Washington in October.
”
5

 —
_
—
MARCH DIGNITY CALENDAR
I I Tuesday 8nd 7:30 Liturgy at Don's,
299-”‘(58
Sunday 13th 1:30 Anniversary Brunch
at Great Moments,
call Keith, 269-8417
DICNITY/LEXINCTON Thursday 2ch 7:30 Rap Session at
P.O. Box 19840 Lexington, KY 40593 Debbie's, 266-0757
FROM DIGNITY'S PRESIDENT SODOMY RECRIMINALIZATION BILL
DEFEATED IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
Well, we're five years old. It seems
incredible and I'm amazed that five years have The New Hampshire state Senate
passed. dismissed by voice vote a proposal to
Will the next 5 years pass so quickly? recriminalize "unnatural and lascivious acts" in
A lot has happened to us, but what's next? mid-January. Had it passed, the bill would
We have a new bishop and it's nice to have have created a class B felony crime, but did
our own diocese, but we'll miss Bishop Hughes not define what was meant by “unnatural and
in Covington. Maybe in another 5 years we lascivious acts." No debate on the bill took
will have surpassed 25 members. (We have a place. New Hampshire decriminalized private,
long way to go!) Maybe we'll have hosted a adult, consensual sexual behavior in 1973.
regional meeting. (That's more likely - how Marcus Hurn testified against the bill on
do you feel about August?) Maybe someone behalf of the New Hampshire Citizens Alliance
else will want to be president. (Please, for Gay and Lesbian Rights (CAGLR). He
please, please!) And maybe we'll continue to said, "This bill is doomed to failure in its
be a supportive organization for lesbians and announced purpose because same sex
gays in Lexington. I'd like that. Hope to see relationships are not unnatural, only less
you at Dignity soon. common.... You can't wipe us out."
In Peace, Unlike last year's bill to prohibit foster
Keith care placements with lesbians and gay men,
the recriminalization bill attracted little
attention from members of the state Senate or
PROGRAM COMMITTEE! the New Hampshire news media. Susan Bruce,
moderator of CAGLR's steering committee,
Dignity is combining its program meeting noted the "bill had so little support that it
with the GLSO monthly forum. Still located at was defeated as part of a package of several
Comp Care on the 2nd Monday of the month, other bills. We're pleased this bill died a
these forums will be of general interest. natural and uncomplicated death. We feel
Dignity may still do other program meetings confident it won't be resurrected in the
independently. If you're interested in helping future.“
prepare the discussions, call Keith, 269-81417. Defeat of this bill is a hopeful sign for
the continued repeal of sodomy laws in other
5TH ANNIVERSARY BRUNCH PLANNED states. "The unpopularity of the
recriminalization bill demonstrates disapproval
Gather with us to celebrate our 5th for the Supreme Court's 1986 decision in
Anniversary Sunday, March 13th, 1:30 pm, at Bowers v. Hardwick," said Sue Hyde, director
Great Moments for Brunch. Jack Dezek, our of the National Gay 8 Lesbian Task Force's
regional director, will be here. Kris and Privacy Project. "These laws will be repealed
Shirley (formerly of Lexington) will also be and will not be reinstated. Defeat of SB 2110
our honored quests. It should be fun, fun, is a victory for all the people of New
fun. Join us! Hampshire."
6

 (S{E{131%J]T i“fl(:lBflIEIQ"]TES
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GREAT MOMENTS
Buy one Dinner,
Get one Free
Any Friday in March
6pm to 8pm
Expires Mar 25, 1988

 — Though each of these women clearly and
repeatedly stated that their love for women did

p not make them "man haters" but rather women

who focused their energy on women, they

i could not make the audience alter their initial

' 1& ’ P impression. I think this is such an explicit

_ /‘ smere a S 81'10 r example of why labels are so dangerous. How
1'" many TV viewers now believe that all lesbians
A? are "man haters" and how much damage has
_" this done to public acceptance of the gay

A." community?

‘ l

‘ Separatism . . . the idea seems to be as
— difficult to define as any you'll find.- Try to
discuss separatism with a group of women, or

Well, here it is - my last month penning men, or (gasp) women and men and just watch
Esmerelda's Parlour's opening lines. The the fur fly. Everybody seems to have their
house is up for sale, job interviews begin for own idea as to what it means to be separatist
me and already the boxes are piling up. and whether separatism is good (for whom?),

It's been quite a year. March 1987 had (for whom?), or indifferent. Simply
found me isolated, beginning a long and stated, separatism advocates independence or
painful breakup with my lover and her autonomy for a particular group from some
children, stagnated in a nursing position that dominant group. To humor the academic in me
no longer challenged me and too frightened to l need to at least mention the fact that
take the risk of change. In April, at the separatism isn't a particularly new idea nor
advice of my therapist (actually a gentle are lesbians the only group to currently hold
shovel l began to attend GLSO C 8 D a separatist ideology. Historically, various
organizational meetings. I began to meet ethnic and religious groups have sought to
people - real human beings who didn't establish independent communities. Examples
disappear after last call. l was accepted and are the Mormons, French-Canadians and closer
encouraged. We were all challenged as we to home, the Shakers.
began to organize monthly dances and take Rather than attempting any "definitive"
responsibility for the women's section of this discussion of lesbian separatism, what I would
newsletter - a section that Steve had kept like to accomplish here is an overview of some
filled with items of interest to women. basic sources of lesbian separatist ideology, to

Now after this long year I'll join Ann in offer some personal observations and
Atlanta and we'll try the relationship stuff experiences on lesbian separatism, and finally,
from the top. I guess I've learned that you to comment on the implications of lesbian
never know what the future holds but its separatism for the gay/lesbian movement at
rarely as bleak as it might seem. A new large.
home, a new position in a larger hospital, a Lesbian separatist ideology stems largely
marvelous girlfriend, and the Atlanta Gay from women's experiences in various
Community! (Five women's bars - count 'em political/social movements of the 60's and 70's.
five!) Deeply involved in both the anti-war and

Several women involved with Esmeralda civil-rights movements, women soon recognized
will continue this column and will appreciate that they were relegated to second class status
your contributions, feedback, and energy. within these organizations. With few
Become involved with this fabulous collection exceptions, women were denied leadership
of women - it could change your life! roles and were instead charge with stuffing

Laura Joans envelopes, cleaning the office and generally
providing support for the "real" movement
leaders - men.

This month's topic is lesbian separatism. Such experiences are credited with the
ironically enough, on February 9th, Oprah re-emergence of the feminist movement as
Winfrey's talk show highlighted this very women choose to fight for their own rights
subject. It was a frustrating show. The 2nd rather than accept second-class status. Yet
group of guests were three women introduced within this new feminist movement dedicated to
as radical lesbian separatists who "hated men.“ voicing women's issues, lesbians often found
“
8

 little support or tolerance for their life-choices What is it then, that lesbians who choose
and related political issues. Too often a separatist lifestyle gain? For many lesbians,
straight feminists feared that public awareness separatism offers a safe and healing space
of the presence of lesbians would undermine apart from the oppression and injuries of the
the overall movement. by making all feminists straight, white, male world. Separatism is not
appear as "man haters" or "radical dykes." simply the exclusion of men whether gay or
Many lesbians had a difficulty with their straight, but an affirmation and conscious
straight feminist sisters returning each night choice of women not only as lovers but as
to the beds of the "oppressors." Once again, those to whom energy is given and received,
lesbians found themselves relegated to the and around whom a community is built. This
back room (or closet7), denied leadership roles is, I believe, the best that separatism has to
and often bluntly denied membership in offer. Having experienced oppression as
feminist organizations. women and lesbians in a rather unforgiving
From here, many lesbians moved into the and intolerant world, it is no small thing for
newly emerging gay rights movement. Once lesbians to have a place from where they can
again, lesbians most often found that they explore themselves - selves which more often
were denied meaningful roles in these male than not have been so battered and obscured
dominated groups. Lesbians were often seen in the "outside" world as to seem nonexistent.
as "invisible". Women's friendships were When the outcome of separatism is an
readily accepted by society if the sexuality understanding of oneself and a healing of old
aspect remained hidden and lesbians were still wounds it is rather hard to criticize. But too
women-trained to be less aggressive with often there is another outcome of separatism,
defining these needs. Lesbians began to see particularly separatism in its extreme form of
their issues to be very different from those near isolation from society. From this isolation
championed by gay men but once more felt one often sees injuries and anger maintained
themselves to be putting energy into someone rather than being released. Around this
else's needs. anger a bitterness and intolerance for
As more "radical" lesbians began to difference sets in which is directed against
speak out about their experiences in various those who think or live differently regardless
groups supposedly dedicated to "Liberation," of age, gender, or sexual identity.
lesbians realized that they were discriminated The conflict produced by these
against and their issues were largely ignored differences in life-choices becomes most
or trivialized. These real [as opposed to evident when planning community events.
imagine) experiences in fighting for their own Each year Wimmins Music Festivals in
rights, and more often the rights of others, particular produce new dilemmas in providing
led many lesbians to choose their own path - wimmin only space. Will male children of
to separate from a male-identified world and to lesbians be allowed? how old? how young?
instead organized around their own beliefs and can gay men attend? straight women? If a
issues. black man and a lesbian get into a fight is the
The degree of separation chosen varies struggle racist or sexist? Rather than
widely. Some lesbians have established affirming the