History lesson: When the Danish lesbians united

Denmark’s very first lesbian organisation was founded back in 1974 out of a need to separate from the Danish Redstocking Movement which did not fully accept and understand the problems and challenges of lesbian women.

History lesson: When the Danish lesbians united

Throughout the 1970’s and early 1980’s, the Danish women’s rights movement was loud and strong, demanding equal pay for women and better treatment both at the workplace as well as in the family. The movement was commonly known as the Redstocking Movement, and within the organisation there was a strong lesbian fraction who were not only figting for women’s rights, but also for homosexual rights.

The group of lesbian Redstockings did not feel accepted and included in the general women’s rights movement, and the specific problems of lesbian women were not properly addressed. Growing frustrations meant that actions needed to be taken in order to not have the lesbian agenda overlooked within the more general Redstocking Movement, and this resulted in the foundation of “Lesbisk Bevægelse” – the Lesbian Movement – in March 1974.

Empowerment and lesbian camps
With this organisational move, lesbian women’s rights could no longer be ignored, and while the newly born Lesbian Movement shared the same political goals as the original Redstocking Movement, it also focused specifically on lesbian rights, equality and recognition.

While the Copenhagen-based group was the most active, subgroups existed all across Denmark, and the Lesbian Movement organised courses, arranged biweekly open meetings in “Kvindehuset” (The Women’s House) in Copenhagen and made (ir)regular publications and magazines for lesbian women focusing on themes such as coming out, discrimination and self-empowerment.

The Lesbian Movement also organised annual summer camps on Danish islands such as Femø, Avernakø and Sejerø where women congregated to discuss politics, take part in various workshops and simply enjoy the safe, inclusive space that these island camps offered.
The Lesbian Movement dissolved gradually throughout the 1980’s along with the Redstocking Movement, and by 1985 most lesbian activism – and the continued fight for equal rights for women who love women – was organised and carried out by the national organisation LGBT Denmark.

The women’s summer camps, however, still exist to this day, and recent years have seen women of all genders and sexualities hop on the tiny ferry to the island of Femø.

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