Our Lesbian Same-Sex Articles
Then and Now - Lesbian Life Changes in
Quite often I am enraged that we still have
such a long way to go to be accepted as a normal part of society. Why should
right wingers and Christian movements discriminate against us because we
are gay or lesbian? Why should Bush be able to think about banning gay or
lesbian marriage, let alone putting an amendment forward? Why do only some
countries and states allow same-sex couple adoption? Why are we still being
harassed in our own workplaces for being a lesbian? There are far too many
whys to list them all, but as a lesbian it angers me that just because we
do not fit into the heterosexual scene that we have less civil liberties
and are frowned upon by many in our world.
However, when I look back just a hundred years,
or so, ago to the turn of the twentieth century, this grounds me. It makes
me see how far we have come in society, thanks to lesbian and gay liberation
movements and women being determined to be proud of their lesbian roots.
In comparison we are a spoilt generation of lesbians; we have come so far
and although we still have a long way to go to gain worldwide equality we
are heading in the right direction. I want to take you back 100 years or
so to make you realize just how lucky you are!
Lesbians 100 Years Ago
Just over 100 years ago, lesbians lived in a
very different society from what we have today. The term lesbian had only
just been introduced and we were an often ignored and invisible section of
the human race. Sexuality had only just begun to be categorized as homosexual
or heterosexual and, although same sex relationships were starting to be
talked about, lesbianism was considered to be a "sickness" that we needed
to be cured of. We were considered to be part of the third sex; women that
wanted to be men and labeled "inverts" by Sigmund Freud. Heterosexuals thought
it was just a phase that women were going through and in time we would revert
to heterosexual relationships!
In reality lesbianism had already existed for
thousands of years, it was just that now it was starting to come to the surface.
Women who lived with women tried to gently shake off the image that they
existed in sexless Boston Marriages. Although most lesbians didn't live in
open families and preferred to keep their love for one another secret, they
started to take on the first visible roles of butch and femme at this time,
although these terms hadn't even been coined yet! Upper class women that
were prominent figures started to dress in men's suits and some even lived
for many years as a man; the politician Murray Hall is just one example.
It seemed that the first rumblings of gay and lesbian liberation were starting
as women slowly moved towards the ideal that loving other women was not wrong
and why should they hide their true feelings just because society believed
it was unnatural.
In comparison, we have taken a huge leap forward
in visibility and acceptance. Although there are certain pockets that still
consider our relationships to be abnormal, we are much more widely accepted
and tolerated. After Stonewall; decades of Gay Pride marches; the Gay Activists
Alliance; and the Gay Liberation Front we are finally getting somewhere in
terms of equality.
I feel happy to be an open, out and proud lesbian
in the town where I live. I do not hide my sexuality at all and this is the
same for many lesbian couples across the globe. I do not consider myself
to be either butch or femme and androgyny is far more widespread. In many
countries same sex couples can adopt children or have their own and share
parental responsibility. Many countries allow same sex marriages and are
focusing on combating sexuality discrimination at work and at home. Yes,
it's true that we still have a lot to fight for, and are still discriminated
globally for our sexuality, but I think we need to focus on what we have
achieved. We are even being recognized as a lucrative target market; you
only have to look at the increasing number of lesbian bars; lesbian shops;
lesbian online stores; lesbian music; lesbian films; lesbian porn; and lesbian
holiday destinations. In fact, even the psychologists have given up on calling
us inverts; they are far more worried about lesbian bed death syndrome than
I wonder where we will be in 100 years more