The Lavender Menace Forms
The Lavender Menace was the pejorative name given to lesbians by feminist Betty Friedan. Friedan argued that increasingly politicized lesbians were a threat to the feminist movement and could hurt the national movement for social equity for women. Friedan was a member of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and their stance was most women felt as if lesbian issues were irrelevant to them and that if they were to partner with lesbians, it would be harder to push policy makers in the right direction.
The term was reclaimed by lesbians within the women’s movement in 1970 who demanded inclusion and recognition. Some staff members from NOW resigned from their jobs to join the group. That same year members of the Lavender Menace disrupted the Second Congress to Unite Women, a conference sponsored by NOW by cutting the lights and changing into shirts with the name “lavender menace” on them
Lesbian rights were included in NOW’s six key issues in 1971 and in 1977, Betty Friedan apologized for her pervious remarks and actively supported a resolution against sexual preference discrimination.