Sexual pleasure, sexual rights
Jo Robinson talks about sexual pleasure and her experiences with men and women
Jenni Murrary talks about the sexual agency of women
Gail Lewis discusses attitudes to women's sexuality
Mary McIntosh talks about the need to be 'out' as a lesbian
Gay and lesbian liberation politics and choice about sexuality
During the 1970s, as women met, talked and worked together in women’s centres on campaigns, they began to debate every aspect of their sexuality. Linking gay politics with feminist politics, the Gay Liberation Front was initially established in New York following the Stonewall riots of 1969 and in the UK in 1970. For lesbians, issues surrounding the right to define your own sexuality, and to have this accepted by society, were perhaps more relevant than debates about contraception and domestic violence (with its focus on male partners as perpetrators). The decriminalisation of homosexuality with the Sexual Offences Act of 1967 was an important gain, helping create greater tolerance for lesbians as well as gay men.
Many lesbian feminists wanted to set up separate groups in order to focus on their own politics. At the 1974 National Women’s Liberation Movement conference in Edinburgh, the ‘Sixth Demand’ arguing for ‘The right to a self-defined sexuality – an end to discrimination against lesbians’, was passed. From that point on, the national conferences were women-only. From 1973 there were also annual National Lesbian Conferences, as well as many other lesbian women’s groups set up during the 1970s.
Beatrix Campbell describes the consequences of sexual pleasure
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