by Andrea Dworkin

Copyright © 1975, 1976 by Andrea Dworkin.
All rights reserved.

Chapter 7

Lesbian Pride

[Delivered at a rally for Lesbian Pride Week, Central Park, New York City, June 28, 1975.]

For me, being a lesbian means three things —

First, it means that I love, cherish, and respect women in my mind, in my heart, and in my soul. This love of women is the soil in which my life is rooted. It is the soil of our common life together. My life grows out of this soil. In any other soil, I would die. In whatever ways I am strong, I am strong because of the power and passion of this nurturant love.

Second, being a lesbian means to me that there is an erotic passion and intimacy which comes of touch and taste, a wild, salty tenderness, a wet sweet sweat, our breasts, our mouths, our cunts, our intertangled hairs, our hands. I am speaking here of a sensual passion as deep and mysterious as the sea, as strong and still as the mountain, as insistent and changing as the wind.

Third, being a lesbian means to me the memory of the mother, remembered in my own body, sought for, desired, found, and truly honored. It means the memory of the womb, when we were one with our mothers, until birth when we were torn asunder. It means a return to that place inside, inside her, inside ourselves, to the tissues and membranes, to the moisture and blood.

There is a pride in the nurturant love which is our common ground, and in the sensual love, and in the memory of the mother—and that pride shines as bright as the summer sun at noon. That pride cannot be degraded. Those who would degrade it are in the position of throwing handfuls of mud at the sun. Still it shines, and those who sling mud only dirty their own hands.

Sometimes the sun is covered by dense layers of dark clouds. A person looking up would swear that there is no sun. But still the sun shines. At night, when there is no light, still the sun shines. During rain or hail or hurricane or tornado, still the sun shines.

Does the sun ask itself, "Am I good? Am I worthwhile? Is there enough of me?" No, it burns and it shines. Does the sun ask itself, "What does the moon think of me? How does Mars feel about me today?" No, it burns, it shines. Does the sun ask itself, "Am I as big as other suns in other galaxies?" No, it burns, it shines.

In this country in the coming years, I think that there will be a terrible storm. I think that the skies will darken beyond all recognition. Those who walk the streets will walk them in darkness. Those who are in prisons and mental institutions will not see the sky at all, only the dark out of barred windows. Those who are hungry and in despair may not look up at all. They will see the darkness as it lies on the ground in front of their feet. Those who are raped will see the darkness as they look up into the face of the rapist. Those who are assaulted and brutalized by madmen will stare intently into the darkness to discern who is moving toward them at every moment. It will be hard to remember, as the storm is raging, that still, even though we cannot see it, the sun shines. It will be hard to remember that still, even though we cannot see it, the sun burns. We will try to see it and we will try to feel it, and we will forget that it warms us still, that if it were not there, burning, shining, this earth would be a cold and desolate and barren place.

As long as we have life and breath, no matter how dark the earth around us, that sun still burns, still shines. There is no today without it. There is no tomorrow without it. There was no yesterday without it. That light is within us—constant, warm, and healing. Remember it, sisters, in the dark times to come.

Go to "The Root Cause."

"Lesbian Pride." Copyright © 1975, 1976 by Andrea Dworkin. All rights reserved. First published under the title "What Is Lesbian Pride?" in The Second Wave, Vol. 4, No. 2, 1975. Delivered as a lecture under the title "What Is Lesbian Pride?"