Volume 92, Issue 28

Friday, October 23, 1998



The politics of lesbian feminism

Re: Pravda Magazine

To the Editor:

I picked up a copy of Pravda magazine (the "promotional paper of the USC") inserted in last Friday's Gazette (Oct. 16). I don't know how many people bother to read this insert, but I read it this time because I seemed to be a feature story.

Pravda asked me to comment on lesbian, gay and bisexual issues on campus a couple of weeks ago. I found myself talking into a tape recorder and being asked very specific questions about the Pride Library. I didn't realize the only GLB issue on campus was the Pride Library. Had I known what the interviewer intended, I would have refused to comment.

I am angry at being cornered into the interview and then having what I did say taken out of context or cut off so the meaning was lost and then presented in an extremely biased manner in the magazine.

So let me sum up the issue of the Pride Library for all those interested in finally knowing what the problem is from the "feminist camp." It is the underlying issue in most lesbian and gay politics. Lesbian feminists are sick of the way wimmin are silenced and oppressed within the "gay community."

The Pride Library is illustrative of this problem. Directed by a man whose gay and lesbian issues course was cancelled by Western a few years ago because of numerous complaints of misogynist and anti-lesbian content, the Pride Library will never be a comfortable place for any womon who is at all conscious of oppression issues. I am not willing to simply accept without question that the director of the Pride Library has changed his stripes. I do not believe he has. It is typical for people to "not understand" what the problem is, because unfortunately few people understand oppression issues – especially when they are sitting pretty in a privileged position (ie: men, gay or straight).

Why should lesbians settle for being rendered invisible in the queer community? We should not. Let me put this in clearer terms by drawing a comparison. Would you ask the Jewish community to accept a holocaust library directed by a neo-nazi? I do not think you would. Why then should lesbians accept a "Pride Library" directed by a man who has openly taught misogyny in the past?

We should not accept this. I do not accept it. I do realize, however, that as a political lesbian I have few supporters and that few people understand our struggles. But we are at Western, a place where if a person wanted to, they could educate themselves about issues such as wimmin's oppression within all communities, including the extremely pronounced oppression of lesbians within the queer community.

Finally, with respect to uwOUT!, the club has folded because no one wanted to take responsibility for running it. People who have been involved with uwOUT!'s executive in the past few years were simply not willing to continue because of the extreme frustration and burn-out experienced from fighting for lesbian rights in an atmosphere on this campus that is extremely unfriendly. It is an atmosphere where a complete lack of comprehension about equality issues exists.

How can you get anywhere on issues when the people you are trying to deal with have absolutely no grasp of what you are talking about? It is like speaking in a foreign language if you raise feminist lesbian issues to most people in the queer (and straight) community.

So uwOUT! has folded, but rest assured there will be a new queer club to replace it, one that is more "popular" and more "acceptable" because it doesn't include those "radical lesbian separatists" from uwOUT!. Everyone can breathe a little sigh of relief, now that there is no official queer club that challenges your safety zone with radical ideas.

Alexa Duggan
VP (of the former) uwOUT

To Contact The Opinions Department: gazette.opinions@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998