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Lesbians’ relationships to gay men


Barbara said for her the relationship between lesbians and gay men has changed. “In my most radical phase, in the 70s, it was so women focussed to the exclusion of men, obviously we identified as lesbians and as such, with gay liberation, but there were still difficulties because the men running it found it hard to work with stroppy outspoken women, and the women weren’t used to working with men who were patronising them etc so the working relationships would break down, it was always a bit difficult. Things have moved on a lot now, feminism has become more mellow as we have got older, it’s much easier”.

Bridget said “I’ve always been very fond of gay men, some of my best friends are gay men, if I had to choose, I’d pick going out for dinner with a bunch of gay men rather than lesbian feminists. I know their problems are different but I’ve always felt a unity of cause, not a division, They are also victims of masculinity. I was too frightened to put my head above the parapet then but did so in terms of cross dressers, but I wouldn’t have dared said I liked gay men back then. The group in power at the time would really not have appreciated that view, and people like Stacey for example could be extremely difficult. Barbara said, “Well Stacey was the extreme end of it, but intimidating nevertheless”. Bridget said “Other lesbians weren’t desperately interested in gay men partly because they had no politics at all, and weren’t interested in them being gay, now things have moved on and people see the commonalities”.

Contributed by: Barbara Carter, 53, Bridget Malin, 62

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