I want to tell you about my friend Jane. She is a working class cockney from the East End of London. She had 5 kids. I met Jane, in the early 1990s, at a university lesbian group, when she was in her late 40s. After years of her husband raping her every night and physically abusing her, she escaped to a women’s refuge. The refuge was run by radical lesbian feminists and, slowly, over time, her consciousness was raised and she realised there was an alternative to daily abuse from a man. She’d never considered the possibility that she could choose to be a lesbian. In the refuge, she chatted with radical lesbian feminists and developed a feminist understanding of her life. She came out, she went to university to get a career-based degree. She is a political activist and in a long-term relationship with a woman. She never looked…

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In 1980, Adrienne Rich articulated how compulsory heterosexuality controls and oppresses women. She explains how men systematically force women into heterosexuality. Specifically through:

1. Denying us our own sexuality (punishment including death for female adultery and lesbianism, FGM, contemporary feminist debates about the compulsory nature of PIV and the way it is culturally perceived as the only valid sexual act even if women don’t want it, fits in here)

2. Forcing male sexuality on us (through rape, being beaten, and physically, emotionally and psychologically coerced into sex with men, male sexual harassment and assault, socialisation that tells us male sexual aggression is a “right“ and he “can‘t help it“)

3. Controlling women’s labour (through the institution of marriage/cohabitation and motherhood and the informal (unpaid) domestic role in the home as well as predominantly carrying out low paid caring roles in the workplace)

4. Controlling women’s movements and keeping them imprisoned…

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Political Lesbianism Matters

This is a blog which will cover a radical lesbian feminist/political lesbian perspective. Radical lesbian feminists are freedom-fighters and we’re reclaiming virtual, theoretical and physical spaces.

We reclaim political lesbianism and open up a positive narrative about how political lesbianism is relevant and important to a modern-day radical feminist climate.

When women aren’t able to meet together lawfully and create female-only safe spaces for those who’ve experienced male violence, when lesbians are told they’re “transphobic” if they refuse to have sex with someone with a penis, when feminists are told they’re “transphobic” when they speak out against ways in which the state tries to control women’s biology, it is time for all politicised lesbians to unite and create radical lesbian feminist space. We must stop the tide designed to erase lesbian feminism and fight for sisterhood and women-only organising once more.