Award Date

May 2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

History

First Committee Member

Marcia M. Gallo

Second Committee Member

Jeff Schauer

Third Committee Member

Joanne Goodwin

Fourth Committee Member

Barbara Brents

Number of Pages

96

Abstract

From 1964 to 1972, the lesbian rights organizations, Daughters of Bilitis and Minorities Research Group, shaped the resistance of lesbians in North America and Europe by providing a platform to challenge harmful narratives about lesbianism in their magazines, The Ladder and Arena Three. This thesis is the first to examine the close relationship of the Daughters of Bilitis and Minorities Research Group, and how their collaboration helped lesbians in the international lesbian network move from the shadows onto the international stage years before Stonewall. More often than not, DOB and MRG leaders could not agree on what was “best” for lesbians, and these disagreements strengthened their resistance by forcing them to consider other tactics in elevating the lesbian reputation. Correspondence, both private and published, advocated for this greater visibility and helped many lesbians feel less isolated during an era when lesbianism was broadly condemned. Both organizations laid the groundwork for later lesbian rights groups by providing examples of how to use international networks to broaden the reach of local activism.

Keywords

Daughters of Bilitis; Lesbian Activism; Lesbians; Minorities Research Group; Sexuality

Disciplines

United States History

Language

English


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