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Lesbian-Woman (first edition).jpg
Cover of the first edition
Authors Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon
Country United States
Language English
Subject Lesbian feminism
Publisher Glide Publications
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardcover and Paperback)
Pages 283
ISBN 978-0553235975
OCLC 506556

Lesbian/Woman is a 1972 book about lesbianism by the feminist and gay-rights activists Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon. It is considered a foundational text of lesbian feminism.[1]


Martin and Lyon describe their book as a subjective account of lesbianism. They try to recuperate the experiences of lesbians from what they see as the distortions of most medical and scientific accounts. They claim to have produced neither a true confession nor a scientific book, but one written from subjective experience. Rejecting the idea of objectivity and scientific neutrality, they affirm the book as partisan and argue that lesbians must speak in their own terms, not through those set out in the experts' frameworks.[2]

The authors argue that a woman's sexual orientation as a political choice.[3] They believe that lesbian relationships are appealing because of the absence of clearly defined gender roles.[4]

Scholarly reception[edit]

Jennifer Terry, Assistant Professor of Comparative Studies at Ohio State University,[5] comments that in many respects the book, "resembles previous social scientific surveys and early psychiatric case histories produced as a result of voluntary lesbian participation in studies." She adds that, "One can identify a similarity in the discursive structure of the subjects' self-descriptions reported in Lesbian/Woman and those of the early psychiatric interviews that were part of the Sex Variants study of the 1930s."[6]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Terry 1997. pp. 278-279.
  2. ^ Terry 1997. p. 278.
  3. ^ Ruse 1988. p. 172.
  4. ^ Bell 1978. pp. 84, 488.
  5. ^ Terry 1997. p. 299.
  6. ^ Terry 1997. p. 279.


  • Bell, Alan P.; Weinberg, Martin S. (1978). Homosexualities: A Study of Diversity Among Men And Women. South Melbourne: The Macmillan Company of Australia. ISBN 0 333 25180 6. 
  • Ruse, Michael (1988). Homosexuality: A Philosophical Inquiry. New York: Basil Blackwell. ISBN 0 631 15275 X. 
  • Terry, Jennifer (1997). Rosario, Vernon A., ed. Science and Homosexualities. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-91502-3.