Inthe Ontario Superior Court ruled that prohibiting same-sex marriage was a violation of Charter rights. While local lesbian activists across the United States and Europe organized concerts that showcased these performers and others, annual music festivals began to pop up that operated as weekend- or weeklong feminist "safe spaces" that fostered pride, arts and craftsand sexual expression. For the sexologists, all of the aforementioned women—passing women and those in romantic friendships or Boston marriages—were instantly understood as "inverts," whether the women had been conscious of same-sex desire or not. The following year, sexual orientation was added to the Canadian Human Rights Act, which covers federally-regulated activities. In truth, a strong contingent of lesbian feminist writers, scholars, and activists, including Amber Hollibaugh b. In Torontowhere the relationship with police was particularly fraught, the raids culminated in a police sweep of the Pussy Palace, a women-only event, in Many women who have sex with women do not identify as "lesbians"—a fact that has made mass organizing difficult across the globe and has contributed to a vast lesbian invisibility that reinforces heterosexism in developing nations.
Another precedent for contemporary lesbianism is the phenomenon of passing women—female-born people who lived part or all of their lives as men.
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Although passing women usually claimed that their motivation to dress and live as men was to seek adventure or better economic opportunities, no doubt some of them wanted to pursue same-sex erotic relationships. Through the s and s, bars in major cities San FranciscoLos Angelesand New York in the United States began to cater exclusively to lesbians, with some of the bars fielding lesbian sports teams that competed with rival gay bars and clubs. Stereotypes about white female virtue and white feminine asexuality the lack of sexual desire in women made sexual relations between "proper" women almost inconceivable. Around the turn of the 20th century, the development of higher education provided opportunities for women. Contemporary notions of lesbianism emerge from and elaborate on four main historical precedents from the nineteenth century on: Lesbian scholarship is closely related to feminist scholarship and has important origins in Continental poststructuralism.