photography by sherry
Lesberadas is a recently formed lesbian/feminist organization.
Our initial activities centered around the National Women's Conference,
held in Houston, November 18-21. What follows are some of our thoughts
about the conference and what took place.
The positive effect of the National Women's Conference in the City
of Houston and within Houston women is inestimable. Lesbians from all
across the nation joined together to be visible and to make our voices
heard. Together we made herstory!
We guarantee that never before has a photograph of lesbians carrying a banner "LESBIAN RIGHTS" (and with so many balloons!) appeared
on the front page of a Houston daily newspaper. On November 22nd,
the day after the Conference, law and order, pro-family, anti-gay candidate Frank Briscoe was defeated in the mayor's race by a landslide
2-1 vote. Houston elected its first woman official, feminist Kathy
Whitmire, to the office of City Controller (the most powerful position
after mayor) by a vote of 60%-40%. We feel certain that the National
Women's Conference played a part in bringing out feminist and liberal
We applaud and accept Betty Friedan's public admission on live
television and before some 8,000 women, at least 500 of them out front
lesbians, that "We've all made mistakes" and that she made a mistake in
her past stance on the lesbian issue. She urged women to support lesbians in the struggle for our rights.
"Straight" Texas women have approached us to say that they were
against lesbians in the past because they did not know any lesbians and
were not educated on the issue of lesbianism. Now they say that they
are willing to try! Some have apologized for past bigotry. It seems
that many women have come out! Many lesbians who have never been activists are calling Lesberadas to find out how to become more involved
in feminism and in the lesbian struggle.
There were some problems, though. Lesberadas feels a responsibility to let the national lesbian community know that a group of women—some straight--from a left-wing organization took advantage of
our housing service and were ever-present in all lesbian caucuses,
rallies, and other activities, sometimes acting, apparently, as agitators
While the politics of some Lesberadas may be in agreement with
these women, we feel it necessary to let all lesbians know what we
have learned, many members of non-lesbian groups may find it convenient
to covertly enter the lesbian ranks at other conferences and may, for
reasons of their own, attempt to influence lesbian groups to their
own personal goals. Although we do not encourage paranoia, we do think
it advisable to exercise caution in this regard.
Within Lesberadas, we are discussing many ideas which we received
from women who came here from all over the country. The contributions of these beautiful dykes to our process, ideas, questions, and
group identity will always be deeply appreciated by Lesberadas. Their
presence here in Houston has strengthened our commitment to lesbian
rights, to our own mental growth, and to the growth of a national
Lesberadas agrees that the National Women's Conference has shown
us all that there is a great need for a national lesbian federation
which is truly representative of a wide range of lesbians, and is
truly accountable to the grassroots lesbians across the nation. We
encourage a national dialogue through all lesbian publications on the
possible creation of such a federation and we are ready to contribute
to its creation in any way we can.
To all of you who participated in the Conference activities, we
give a fond thanks. Presently, Lesberadas is involved in the process
of defining itself, establishing goals, and creating its organizational
structure. We welcome your participation. Meetings are generally
held on Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. at the First Unitarian Church (subject
to occassional changes in plans). In the works: a women's radio show,
support groups, camping trips, political action... etc. For more up
to the minute information, call Nancy at 524-3642.