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date: 23 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the history of women’s participation in the LGBT movement, from the homophile phase in the 1950s–1960s through gay liberation, lesbian feminism, anti-AIDS activism in the 1980s–1990s, to contemporary queer activism and the marriage equality movement. The chapter points to shifts in women’s participation, ranging from fighting for women’s issues within male-dominated organizations to creating separatist groups to collaborating with gay men in mixed-gender organizations. In addition, the chapter focuses on changes in collective identities adopted by women in the LGBT movement, sometimes emphasizing commonalities across the lines of sex and sexual identity and sometimes emphasizing difference. The analysis makes clear the ways that social movement spillover from the Old Left, civil rights, women’s, anti-war, New Left, and other movements had an impact on women’s organizing in the LGBT movement, and, in turn, how women’s participation in the movement spilled over to new forms of activism.

Keywords: LGBT, homophile, gay liberation, lesbian feminism, AIDS, queer activism, marriage equality, gender, social movements, women

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