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Connections, Vol. 2, No. 1, December 1979-January 1980
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Connections, Vol. 2, No. 1, December 1979-January 1980 - File 010. 1979-12/1980-01. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. November 16, 2019. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/1526/show/1514.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(1979-12/1980-01). Connections, Vol. 2, No. 1, December 1979-January 1980 - File 010. Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM) Digital Archive. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/1526/show/1514

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Connections, Vol. 2, No. 1, December 1979-January 1980 - File 010, 1979-12/1980-01, Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM) Digital Archive, University of Houston Libraries, accessed November 16, 2019, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/1526/show/1514.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Connections, Vol. 2, No. 1, December 1979-January 1980
Contributor
  • Lind, Scott
Publisher Gay Community Services
Date December 1979-January 1980
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
Place
  • Austin, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 5962584
Collection
  • University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
  • LGBT Research Collection
  • Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM) Digital Archive
Rights No Copyright - United States
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 010
Transcript LESBIANS AND THE LEFT In the past decade, the relationship between lesbians and the left has been uneasy. In 1972 when the New American Movement, a socialist organization of which I am a member, made gay liberation part of its political principles, many leftists were dismissing gay liberation as merely a personal struggle. Some even called it reactionary. At that time, many lesbians who wanted to change the entire society Were convinced th.e left was hopelessly dominated by men who!would never even support feminism, let alone lesbianism. The tension also exists for anyone who tries to advocate both. When I am talking to someone outside the movement, trying to link socialism and lesbianism means combining the unpopular with the taboo. Small wonder people feel uneasy in our political statements about joining the two. In 1972, organizers of a Washington anti-war march worried that a group of lesbians would turn people off. By 1977» some participants in a Chicago march against Anita Bryant worried about the presence of a group called "Gay Socialists." Although I expect this tension to continue, there are some encouraging signs. There are fewer parts of the left that don't support gay liberation today. The left has come around, I believe, because lesbians and gay men refused to listen to criticisms of the early 70's and have built a strong and progressive movement. Groups like the New American Movement and individuals who have stajyed within the left have also argued for support of gay liberation. And Ms. Bryant herself has probably helped by making the connection between right-wing politics and opposition to gay liberation so explicit. I believe the struggles for lesbian rights and many of the insights of lesbian.feminism.should be an important , integral part of the larger struggle to transform society, of a socialist revolution. I want to outline here why I think it is important, at this point in history, and in this country. I am making a crucial assumption: that a revolutionary struggle that-does not include a commitment to feminism is not worth waging. While all socialist revolutions have had sweeping changes in the status of women as goals, and most have put some of them into practice, none has ever included rights for lesbians. There are reasons why lesbianism (and gay rights generally) has come to the fore in the U.S. at this time, and I believe those very reasons make the struggle for lesbian rights a crucial part of a socialist strategy. In the past century, ordinary people have been encouraged by the media and by the circumstances of their daily lives to find fulfillment through their private, personal lives. (Eli Zaretsky, in Capitalism, the Family, and Personal Life gives an excellent description of how this has happened.) As capitalism in the U.S. has developed and life has become more complex, people experience less and less ability to be creative or effective in the world as a whole. At work, even executives in the corporate world feel as much like cogs in a machine as blue-collar workers (or cogs without a machine, in the case of the unemployed.) More and more, we are told by T.V., popular songs, and psychotherapists, we can find fulfillment, happiness and ourselves in our personal lives. In the 1950's, the focus of most of this alleged happiness was the family; by the mid-sixties it had switched to sexual relationships. People are bombarded with the message that by Judy MacLean a satisfying sex life is the key to the good life, and that it is achievable, for one and all, if only certain products are used, or certain therapies applied,..'. The feminist movement provided the great .insight that the personal is political. As Shulamith Fierstone showed in" The Dialectic of Sex, love relationships between men and women repeat the same patterns—patterns perpetuated by the ways men and women are raised and enforced by unequal access to power over our lives. Our misery as women is shared, and it is not our fault as individuals. It is political in that it stems from the power relationships that are the basis of how our society is organized. And so the way to change our situation is through political changes in the society as a whole, not through changes in ourselves. Of course, we will be transformed, too, in the course 'of the struggle, by our very act of trying to change the world. A 'From Sidonie G. Colette's Claudine a I'ecoie (1905?). So, we find ourselves impaled upon a contradiction. We are supposed to find freedom and happiness in our sexual lives; in fact, our every move has been choreographed long ago. It is inevitable that with all the propaganda about sexual freedom that some women would actually try to seek some. And for some women, this means violating the heterosexual norms. Surely one of the most basic kinds of sexual freedom is the freedom to love another woman, to build this realm of personal happiness with someone who hasn't been programmed to oppress you. A hundred years ago there' were probably just as many women with inclinations toward lesbianism as there are today. But in a society that downplays sexuality, that doesn't preach fulfillment through sexual relationships, many women probably ignored those inclinations. Of course, some never did. But it is the contrast today, between a keyed-up culture, where sexuality is almost always the backdrop and where it is held as a panacea, and the reality of what many of us would do with real sexual freedom which makes the contradiction acute. continued on page 16 CONNECTIONS, December 1979/January 1980^ 9
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