Sunday, August 8, 2010

Lesbians In Revolt by Charlotte Bunch

Lesbians In Revolt
The development of Lesbian-Feminist politics as the basis for the liberation of women is our top priority; this article outlines our present ideas. In our society which defines all people and institutions for the benefit of the rich, white male, the Lesbian is in revolt. In revolt because she defines herself in terms of women and rejects the male definitions of how she should feel, act, look, and live. To be a Lesbian is to love oneself, woman, in a culture that denigrates [sic] and despises women. The Lesbian rejects male sexual/political domination; she defies his world, his social organization, his ideology, and his definition of her as inferior. Lesbianism puts women first while the society declares the male supreme. Lesbianism threatens male supremacy at its core. When politically conscious and organized, it is central to destroying our sexist, racist, capitalist, imperialist system. Male society defines Lesbianism as a sexual act, which reflects men's limited view of women; they think of us only in terms of sex. They also say Lesbians are not real women, so a real woman is one who gets fucked by men. We say that a Lesbian is a woman whose sense of self and energies, including sexual energies, center around women--she is woman-identified. The woman-identified woman commits herself to other women for political, emotional, physical and economic support. Women are important to her. She is important to herself. Our society demands that commitment from women be reserved for men. Lesbianism is a threat to the ideological, political, personal, and economic basis of male supremacy. The Lesbian threatens the ideology of male supremacy by destroying the lie about female inferiority, weakness, passivity, and by denying women's "innate" need for men.

Being a Lesbian means ending identification with, allegiance to, dependence on, and support of heterosexuality. It means ending your personal stake in the male world so that you join women, individually and collectively, in the struggle to end your oppression. Lesbianism is the key to liberation and only women who cut their ties to male privilege can be trusted to remain serious in the struggle against male dominance. Those who remain tied to men, individually or in political theory, cannot always put women first. It is not that heterosexual women are evil or do not care about women. It is because the very essence, definition, and nature of heterosexuality is men first. Every woman has experienced that desolation when her sister puts her man first in the final crunch: heterosexuality demands that she do so. As long as women still benefit from heterosexuality, receive its privileges and security, they will at some point have to betray their sisters, especially Lesbian sisters who do not receive those benefits.

Lesbians must form our own political movement in order to grow. Changes which will have more than token effects on our lives will be led by women-identified Lesbians who understand the nature of our oppression and are therefore in a position to end it. 


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  1. However, we heterosexual women can be aware that Lesbian Feminists' work benefits ALL women and can try as best they can to support Lesbians whenever possible. Just like I know as an able-bodied woman that advocating for accessibility in ALL spaces makes the world more accessible for all (ramps and door-opening devices benefit us Moms with strollers too, not just physically challenged persons) I know that standing up for and supporting Lesbians is the wisest course of action for EVERY woman. We will none of us be free as women, until we are all free, especially woman-identified women.

  2. This is one of my favorite writings from the Second Wave.

  3. Yes, excellent, and I have read it before, and have taken it inside years ago...unfortunately Lesbianism has gone back to being trivialized with the likes of Ellen and other Hollywood figures, and the vacuous La La Land "L Word", completely de-politicized lesbianism. "We're just like you, except who we partner/have sex with"....and yet for ME Lesbianism is a true Way of Life, and at the core of my Amazon work...that we put women, the Sacred Female, and Lesbian sexual and spiritual energies to empower ourselves and to connect with and heal each other, and Mother Earth FIRST AND FOREMOST, without exception.

    Those heterosexual women willing to come along for the ride, while still honoring our sensibilities, can be good touch with their own power, rather than their victimization, and can learn the true meaning of deep Sisterhood without exception, from us.
    -In Sisterhood,

  4. P.S. Charlotte Bunch was the FIRST Lesbian I ever heard speak when I went to my very first Lesbian conference: "Lesbians Colorado" in 1980! That conference indeed changed my life and helped me come out!