The Furies Collective
The Furies Collective was a communal lesbian group in Washington, D.C. that was established in the summer of 1971. The group intended to give a voice to lesbian separatism through its newspaper, The Furies. In the first issue in January 1972, contributor Ginny Berson stated their view that:
"... Sexism is the root of all other oppressions, and Lesbian and woman oppression will not end by smashing capitalism, racism, and imperialism. Lesbianism is not a matter of sexual preference, but rather one of political choice which every woman must make if she is to become woman-identified and thereby end male supremacy."
The Furies collective, one of whose main sites was at 219 11th St SE, was, along with the Gay Liberation House and the Skyline Collective, among Washington, DC's best known communal living groups in the early Seventies. The twelve women meeting on 11th Street SE constituted an experiment in lesbians of diverse social and economic backgrounds living together and working to make their political and social beliefs a day-to-day reality. Most of the members of the collective wrote for the newspaper. From January 1972 until mid-1973, the collective published its newspaper, The Furies, and distributed it nationally.
According to Rita Mae Brown in Rita Will, the members of the collective were: "Rita Mae Brown, Charlotte Bunch, Tasha Byrd [sic], Ginny Berson, Sharon Deevey, Susan Hathaway, Lee Schwin [sic], Helaine Harris, Coletta Reid, Jennifer Woodull [sic], Nancy Myron and Joan E. Biren." (J.E.B.) The names indicated by "[sic]" are actually: Tasha Petersen or Peterson, Lee Schwing, Jennifer Woodul.
The collective did not last long. The first two to be asked to leave were Joan Biren and Sharon Deevey, followed shortly thereafter by Rita Mae Brown. The newsletter survived the disbanding of the collective in the spring of 1972 by about a year.
- The Furies, Vol. 1, Issue 1, as quoted at http://www.rainbowhistory.org/furies.htm
- Rita Mae Brown, Rita Will: Memoir of a Literary Rabble-Rouser, Bantam Books, New York, 1997. p. 267.
- Rita Mae Brown, Rita Will: Memoir of a Literary Rabble-Rouser, Bantam Books, New York, 1997. p. 271