Today in LGBTQ History: First Black Lesbian Conference Begins in San Francisco

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Photo: Leigh Mosley

In 1980, “Becoming Visible – The First Black Lesbian Conference” took place at the Women’s Building in San Francisco, CA. A two-day event, the conference was an outgrowth from the First National Third World Lesbian and Gay Conference by the National Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays which was held in 1979, in Washington, DC. Although there had been previous conferences supporting both lesbians and gays, the “First Black Lesbian Conference” was the first in the United States with the mission to hold a conference with the sole focus of supporting African-Americans lesbians.[3] In the decades leading to the conference, it was not uncommon for other various organizations to push African-American lesbian women out, as a result of the lack of knowledge surrounding diversity of sexual orientation and race.

In the decades leading to the conference, it was not uncommon for other various organizations to push African-American lesbian women out, as a result of the lack of knowledge surrounding diversity of sexual orientation and race.

One of the conference goals was to address the wide spectrum of needs for black lesbians and “to provide the courage and strength necessary to make those needs felt in places where it becomes necessary.” Angela Davis gave the conference’s keynote address.

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