Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Blogpost #2 – Eva de Haan
In the second part of Gay LA, a coupld things stood out to me. Firstly, the part on lesbian feminism really stood out to me because up until that point, lesbians had only been mentioned in passing. The stories were mostly about gay initiative and not many women were mentioned. The book talks about the lesbians that felt alienated from the Gay Liberation Front. The actions of the Front did not represent them, and they felt neglected and overlooked. Eventually, a group of lesbians split off and started the Gay Women’s Liberation group. This example shows the ways in which a movement might seem coherent and all encompassing from the outside, but that within movements there will always be different interest. Having a liberation movement revolve around a single identity is always difficult, because even revolutionary liberation movements do not exist in a vacuum. They will always be influenced by the dominant ideology, and in this case the lesbian feminists split off because of the patriarchal structure of the Gay Liberation Front.
What also is interesting is the mention that the lesbians in the Gay Liberation Front felt that the Black Panthers’, fighting racism in the USA, needs were put above their needs. This bring the aspect of race to the forefront of the conversation and it reminds me of Susan B. Anthony, a feminist hero, who was also pretty racist. Racism was rooted in the early suffragette movement. The lesbian feminists in the Gay Liberation Front also struggled with race, though the book does not elaborate much on this issue in this chapter. The issue is a delicate one. On the one hand, it can be argued that liberation is not a zero-sum game, and that less oppression for one group does not mean more oppression for another group. However, there must always be critical eyes examining a movement. I remember seeing a quote somewhere (although I forgot who said it or how exactly it was worded so I have been unable to find it so far), but the message was that liberation for the most vulnerable and oppressed of us means liberation for all. Maybe some of you will recognize the message and point me towards the real quote. In the mean time, and especially in the current political climate, it is extremely important to look towards the most vulnerable members of any liberation or emancipation movement, and investigate whether everything is being done to include them in the movement.