Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964517 | Print ISBN: 9781412909167 | Online ISBN: 9781412964517| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Anne M. Valk
Lesbian feminism is a term introduced in the United States in the 1960s. It refers to a theory, an identity, and a political struggle. As a social movement, lesbian feminism emerged out of movements for women's liberation, gay liberation, and the sexual revolution. Lesbian feminism recognizes the legitimacy of love between women, using it to frame individual sexual and political identities and as a basis for community building and collective action. As a way of thinking about sexual relationships and a form of political organizing, lesbian feminism challenges the perceived normalcy of heterosexuality and male supremacy and presents alternate ways of thinking about gender and power. Prior to the 1960s, thriving gay and lesbian communities developed across the United States, especially within urban areas, where they often centered within bars or private homes and many women assumed “femme” (or “fern”) or “butch” gender roles that resembled those in heterosexual relationships. ...