Lesbian Politics: political awareness and the historical continuum

All lesbians inherit a political history. This history is unique in that lesbians acquire it at birth, yet their parents usually do not teach it to them.This history extends back farther than the origins of all the major religions, and yet it is at the same time untraceable.There are no documents chronicling our passages through time.The global nature of our sisterhood precludes a comprehensive accounting for all our composite actions throughout the millennia.

Unlike the majority of communities, we have neither unifying texts nor common rituals; ours is a community not borne out of shared cultural traditions but rather out of the disparate obstacles that we all eventually encounter.We have conquered a variety of these obstacles in many places via hard-fought battles--many of the hardest of which have been waged in the last century. How do we know how valiantly the warriors of these recent engagements have fought? For the first time in our history, we have victors, and their names are etched in the public record--in our governing documents.

Pillars of the lesbian community are emerging as pillars of the community at large, and it is these triumphs that inspire my most positive beliefs in civic duty, fueling the urgency I feel to stay educated about my local-to-global position in time. I am blessed to have been born in Los Angeles, where I see women like Sheila Kuehl and Shelley Freeman forging proudly out inroads into public service. These women inherited our political history, but unlike ours, theirs had no Sheila Kuehls and Shelley Freemans--and look what they have been able to do in spite of that handicap. In their lifetimes, they opened doors where eons of lesbians had encountered overwhelming resistance.

This history--of which Kuehl and Freeman are contributing authors and in which all lesbians share--leads undeniably to more struggles. 222 years of American lesbians have yet to achieve the full rights first proffered to "mankind" in our oldest articles of confederation. Women--not just lesbians, but all women--have yet to enjoy a full 100 years of American enfranchisement. In the course of less than a century, and for the first time ever in lesbian history, our warriors have won us the freedom to assemble together in public for change.

So why do I not see more of us assembling?

At CSW Pride last year, I discovered my local Stonewall Young Democrats chapter. I eagerly joined for the dual attractive prospects of (a) informed political discussion and (b) hot politically savvy females.I found the former in abundance but found to my horror that I was the group's sole lesbian member.

I know there are women out there more passionately politically active than I, but what is everyone else's excuse? Why do I not see more lesbians actively engaged, interested, and participating in today's history-making? That we exist among all the world's many cultures affords us the most propitious opportunity to examine the matters affecting us with insights informed by nearly unlimited combinations of backgrounds and experiences.

So where is our dialogue?

I have been given the privilege of contributing to this blog with posts political in nature. I hope to foster a learned discussion, and in so doing I will aim to steer readers to a variety of sources. For those without an active interest or strong opinion, I hope to show that investigating the issues takes less effort than one might think.Engaging is often enraging, but we can use our frustrations to strengthen our resolves.

All lesbians inherit a political history, and thus, all lesbians are inherently political; how we handle this inheritance should be openly debated often.It is our duty to recognize our power and responsibility, to teach ourselves the issues, and to function as leaders on behalf of the lesbians who will follow us and inherit the history we are in the process of making.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

there is the lesbian herstory project here in new york