W S 203 Chapter 8: Chapter 8-OGTL(1)

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Women's Studies
Course Code
W S 203
Alissa Kristine Stoehr

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Chapter 8-Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers • Scientific Humanitarian Committee-end of 19 century in Germany o Lesbianism was overlooked by the law since women were not generally recognized under the law o Gay men wanted to challenge laws against sodomy with the “scientific” argument that gay men were “gay” because of a congenital drive to have sex with other men o Homosexuals were seen as a “third sex,” so adding lesbians to its membership could help strengthen this definition o No comparable groups in U.S. • 1960s and the Lesbian Identity o 2 movements ▪ “essentialist” gay women-believed they were born gay or became gay early in life; problems stemmed from societal attitudes about homosexuality; “essentialist” stance on homosexuality-no less involuntary than the color of your skin or your ethnicity ▪ lesbian feminists-believed they were “existentially” close to being lesbians; problems stemmed from societal attitudes towards women; Lesbian feminists declared that a lesbian was the same as any women and that any woman could “existentially” convert from heterosexuality to homosexuality in the name of women’s liberation o Mattachine Society ▪ Started in 1950 by 5 men from Los Angeles who identified as Communists; goal of the society was to “liberate one of our largest minorities from social persecution” ▪ 1953-women joined the Mattachine Society in San Francisco o Daughters of Bilitis (1955) ▪ Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon-founders ▪ Not very politically aware in the beginning ▪ Initial goal was to be a social club outside of the gay bar setting ▪ 1960-at first national convention in San Francisco, the police hassled organizers with questions about whether they advocated wearing clothing of the opposite sex, which was illegal at the time ▪ stayed small in the beginning because middle-class lesbians did not want to run the risk of being harassed o Daughters of Bilitis and the Mattachine Society ▪ Came together to fight against organized religion and its stance on homosexuality ▪ Established a Council on Religion and the Homosexual ▪ Held New Year’s Eve ball as a fundraiser; police came and harassed guests; some police officers stated
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