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Cracks in the Feminist Mirror?

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Abstract:

This article is an offshoot of a research project on lesbian and gay self-organization in the UK's public sector union UNISON. The site upon which lesbians and gay men 'work together' is a complex and contradictory one, located at the juncture of several pathways – women's and men's movements, gendered politics and sexual politics, purist ghettos and queer rainbows. The UNISON group furnishes an ideal site for a case-study of sexual and gendered dynamics in lesbian-and-gay politics by dint of institutional arrangements whereby separate spaces for lesbians and gay men respectively encourage reflexivity in working through these hyphens. While reflections from the lesbian feminist mirror have been active ingredients in the ongoing resocialization of gay men, it is argued that reflections from a gay male mirror will also be necessary if we are to nurture greater wisdom and justice in gender relations. Since the lesbian and gay group co-exists with other selforganized groups for women, black people and disabled people within a broader pro-socialist movement, the potential for working across other sets of differences is also noteworthy. Nevertheless, it can be demonstrated that a sustained coalition between lesbians and gay men is not sufficient in bringing about coalitions with other oppressed minorities or majorities, and may even be at loggerheads with them.

Keywords: FEMINISM; GAY MEN; GENDER; LESBIANS; SEXUALITY

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/014177800440301

Publication date: September 1, 2000

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