The History Of Lesbianis | Myths About Lesbians

Female homosexuality in the early 20th century was culturally unacceptable. The way society perceived lesbianism throughout history has changed drastically. Watch Myths About Lesbians to see how 'being a lesbian' has developed in society.

Throughout history we've been pretty invisible how come let's go back 120 years the decision in 1885 by the establishment not to criminalize female homosexuality that's had a real impact in how lesbianism has been seen because if you think about the history of male homosexuality a lot of that has been defined because the men's fight was about the law the women's fight wasn't about the law, It was about acceptance fast forward to the 1960s and shockingly things hadn't got any better for us what is lesbianism what causes it can it be cured the idea is that by more or less punishing these all these various aspects of homosexuality which are represented in the patient's mind you actually weaken the homosexual drive of the patient well i don't think they are born that way i think the damage is probably done very early in infancy in some cases sometimes later with academics and scientists talking about us like that no wonder we were driven underground i love going to nice places to eat i love going to nice restaurants but you can't do it with a woman because you have to go to an underground place and they're all underground people talked about men being gay and the word used to be being queer but they didn't really talk very much about lesbians girls being gay and then at home.
I discovered that my sister was gay and my sister and her chums used to go to a gay club in chelsea of the king's room

I think we should be allowed to go where we like dressed in what we like and be accepted generally by society that big moment was when a film called the killing of sister george was being cast and my sister became an extra in the film the killing of sister george and that movie the killing of sister george really brought being lesbian out into the open this 1968 cult film featured a volatile relationship between a young susanna york seen here and an aging lesbian actress played by beryl him he's a reed is that so don't george you've no right
I got every right i'm not married to you george i think pretty much when i was growing up lesbians were invisible there weren't any that i could see i think the first time i saw lesbian on television it was beryl reed in the killing of sister george and yeah she wasn't helping it was a man who wrote the screenplay for the film and you don't feel that his aim was necessarily to give the you know sort of most elevated picture of a relationship involving two women you can always tell a lesbian film directed by a man it's just so awful i don't know what they think we do decades before alison stedman got to playing gavin's mom in gavin and stacy she was making history with telly's first ever lesbian kiss really really the bbc aired this revolutionary lesbian drama called girl featuring allison stedman and myra francis to have something like that happening in the 70s it would have been pretty shocking and i believe the producer actually asked to sort of go down on set to watch it to make sure the kiss didn't get out of hand there wasn't a butch and femme cliche in sight in this daring step by the bbc i feel all warm and safe and tingly girl was very controversial at the time and according to the british film institute the transmission was preceded by a special announcement by the controller

I think about my mother my grandmother watching that they really wouldn't have known what to make of it god i'm touched by it i really am
So finally after decades of invisibility we were on the telly and on the streets and no wonder after years of enforced silence we were shouting from the rooftops and that is arguably where the myth that we are radical and political stems from my name's lisa power and i'm a dike who's been around for donkey's years i'm pretty much a historical artifact because i'm 64 and i've been out since 1976. When i came out i was a feminist and a lesbian i don't think the two things necessarily go together but they certainly did for me just to even make a declaration as a woman that you love another woman and to live openly that way is political when i came out there were lesbians who were political and politically active and had radical ideas and there were lots and lots of other lesbians who just wanted to be left alone uh to live with their girlfriend and breed dogs in eastbourne or whatever it was certainly back in the 80s that was a different situation and you saw that lesbians were much more automatically expected to be part of this political force and the green and common women stereotype came about but they're already kind of geared up and ready to fight because just being gay openly gay and openly a lesbian is already

A manifesto the political radical myth was further enforced by greenham common where 30 000 straight and lesbian women came together to protest against nuclear weapons it was green and common and a lot of those activities where there were a lot of women together and of course a lot of lesbians Therefore you know people put two and two together in their heads and go all lesbians are radical this is what they do they like to hang out outside nuclear bunkers and complain about things lesbians are strong characters and they have very strong views the ones i know and i think they are political as much as i'm i'm a lesbian like i'm not out there pushing my views on people that's not how i came to to being gay
It was very natural and it was scary you know and i think anyone that pushes their beliefs on someone that's not fair everyone should make their own decisions i am a political animal and i've always been a political animal i don't see that as only being about being a lesbian i see it as being about a whole bunch of beliefs i guess i've been a very disappointing lesbian i'm surprised they haven't taken my full annual membership card off me because i was so not political or radical when i was a young a young lesbian growing up i joined some groups
When i was at university but i've got to be very honest it wasn't the politics it was more the girls i was interested in getting political and radical became fairly essential in 1986 when the tories introduced section 28 a law which made the promotion of homosexuality in schools illegal yeah you heard that right illegal children who need to be taught to respect traditional moral values are being taught that they have an inalienable right to be gay a lot of people aren't political until they realize they're being threatened and that's why section 28 the anti-gay legislation in the 80s actually did wonders for making us more politicized as a movement a small group of lesbians took the law literally into their own hands as they abseiled into the house of lords three women gay rights protesters caused pandemonium in the house of lords when they ab sailed from the public gallery onto the floor of the chamber then they dropped in on the national news from the bbc with six nicholas in the house of lords a vote is taking place now on a challenge to the politics and i do apologize

If you're hearing quite a lot of noise in this studio at the moment i'm afraid that um we have rather been invaded about rights for lesbian and gay people it's pretty cool that woman oh yeah she was listening to that island distance on sunday thanks to these girls and others like them who lived up to the political and radical myth section 28 was repealed the brave women that were making a stand and coming out and being visible at lesbians were generally you know i'm generalizing here though but were your activists in dungarees who were making a stand because they had to i think that particularly now where we can get married and gay people can adopt and there's a few more rights available that people have got a little bit apathetic i think we ought to keep our eye on the ball because whatever rights we have they are they are they have been afforded to us and they can be taken away you