Feminist Activists Who Identify as Lesbian, Bisexual or Transgender

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The history of lesbian, bisexual and transgender participation in the feminist movement is fascinating. The movement is based on two key claims - that heterosexuality creates institutions that support male dominance, and that lesbian relationships directly confront male privilege and dominance.

Lesbians had a prominent role in early suffragette and feminist movements. These included notable individuals such as Nobel prize-winner Gabriela Mistral of Chile, Lucina Hagman of Finland, Adelaide Ann Procter of Great Britain, and Susan Brownell Anthony or Edna St. Vincent Millay of the United States.

During the 1960s when feminism itself picked up considerable momentum, mainstream feminist organizations throughout the world rejected the participation of out lesbians in their movement despite their common position against sexism. In general, mainstream feminist activists did not want to mix the sexual activism surrounding LGBTQ rights and same-sex relationships to interfere with the feminist political agenda. For example, the National Organization for Women's founder Betty Friedan portrayed lesbian participation in the movement as the 'lavender menace' which would drive women away from the organization.

As a result, new organizations created specifically for lesbian feminists arose within defined local communities. These groups included the activist organization Radicalesbians, the record label Olivia, publishing houses such as Naiad, and other organizations. A large set of community-driven periodicals were established at this time, including Amazon Quarterly, Crysalis, Feminary, Conditions, Lavender Woman, Feminist Bookstore News, Lesbian/Lesbienne, Sinister Wisdom, Azalea, Connexions, Heresies, Open Door: Rural Lesbian Newsletter, Calyx, Fireweed, La Vie En Rose, Aché, Hot Wire, Dyke, Rites, and Common Lives, Lesbian Lives. These initiatives found it powerfully important to combine the notion of same-sex attraction on a personal level with the political ideal of woman's rights.

As LGBTQ rights progressed, mainstream feminist organizations found more commonality than differences and again embraced lesbian feminists and endorsed their activism for same-sex tolerance and rights. Lesbian feminists offered their unique insights and arguments on the relationships between gender and power, and this area of research became a defined academic field of interest. Today, the higher profile of transgender and bisexual individuals into the community is also notable.

We have identified prominent feminist activists who identify as Lesbian, Bisexual or Transgender from Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, India, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Israel, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands, and the United States. To read their fascinating biographies, simply click on their names.


Canada

Chile

Costa Rica

India

Finland

France

Germany

Great Britain

Ireland

Israel

Italy

New Zealand

Norway

Peru

Poland

Singapore

Spain

Sweden

The Netherlands

United States

See Also

Further Reading/Research


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