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orivileges and security, they will at some point have to

betray their sisters, especially lesbian sisters who do not

receive those benefits.

N

aturally many women are afraid to relinquish

the privileges and security of heterosexuality.

(Straight women remain with men and lesbians

don't come out publicly.) Such fear is understandable

since giving up privileges brings more oppression. Many

women also fear the unknown and cling to a familar if

limiting identity rather than face the struggle to build a new

non-sexist self. This refusal to identify as a lesbian is at the

expense of the public lesbian and ultimately all women

because it helps to keep us in line. Bisexuality is often used

to avoid giving up heterosexual privileges. Some women

want to have their cake and eat it too. They stick to men

and don't lose security and acceptance in the male world

but still groove on their sisters--avoiding the political issue

of choosing the oppressed over the oppressor.

Other women talk loftily of their concern for 'all

humanity' implying that lesbians are selfish. We

are

primarily concerned with women--with that 53% of the

population that has been oppressed for over 10,000 years.

To offer hope and new directions through struggle for half

1972

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the people can hardly be selfish. We do care about 'all

humanity' (a euphemism for men), however, and we believe

that men and women can never be free until women stop

complying with male supremacy. When men see that we are

serious about ending our oppression and that they will be

left behind, then they will change. When they move to help

us eliminate male supremacy in the world and to build a

non-sexist, non-racist, non-capitalist world, then and only

then can we talk again about relationships between the new

woman and the new man.

W

omen in women's liberation have understood

the importance of having meetings and other

events for women only. It has been clear that

dealing with men divides us and saps our energies and

that it is not the job of the oppressed to explain our

oppression to the oppressor. Women also have seen that

collectively, men will not deal with their sexism until they

are forced to do so. Yet, many of these same women

continue to have primary relationships with men

individually, and do not understand why lesbians find this

oppressive. Lesbians cannot grow politically or personally

in a situation which denies the basis of our politics: that

lesbianism is political, that heterosexuality is crucial to

7