Featured photo: A group of women throwing their hands up in solidarity with a banner reading “Women of the World Unite.”
The feminist movement strives for the equality of all people regardless of race, sexuality, or gender—therefore as bell hooks states, “feminism is for everybody.” By achieving the goals of feminism, everyone benefits equally. Because of this fundamental definition of what feminism is, one cannot be a feminist if they are homophobic. One also cannot be a feminist and chastise homosexuals for their sexual identity because lesbians and bisexual women have greatly influenced the feminist movement.
Individuals who identify in the LGBTQ+ community are not readily accepted by members of society, which unfortunately continues to oppress these people, but the community continues to be resilient. This resilience greatly shaped the feminist movement because lesbian and bisexual women at the forefront of the movement back during its start were not afraid to engage in left politics and push boundaries regarding race, class, and sexuality. These obstacles faced by these women had strengthened them and allowed them to propel the feminist movement in a direction that was more inclusive and strived for the definition that I stated above—equality for all.
Without visionary lesbian thinkers who pushed the limits of the feminist movement to be more inclusive and to tackle more taboo ideas like white supremacy, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Sure, the feminist movement could have progressed to fight the patriarchy, but it may have stayed within a heterosexual, white dominated perspective of feminism.
Despite many of these lesbian and bisexual women’s hefty contribution to feminism, their efforts are largely discredited and forgotten. We must recognize that even within the feminist movement, minority voices can be buried, so let’s give a voice to these women that fought for us to be where we are today. Let’s continue to fight for a more equal and just world where the vision of feminism is achieved.