JULY 1989 - JULY 1990


Lesbian Information Service was established by Jan Foster in July 1987 with the help of the Government's Enterprise Allowance Scheme. Later that year Sandra Lucille joined as a voluntary worker. L.I.S. is a non-profit-making voluntary organisation which receives no funding. It is jointly organised, on a voluntary basis, by Jan Bridget (ex Foster) and Sandra Lucille and relies on subscriptions to the newsletter and
donations for financial support.


The aim of L.I.S. is to facilitate communication and understanding between Lesbians internationally and to promote the creation of Lesbian communities.


- to generate discussion and dialogue;

- to generate positive activity to combat oppression;

- to increase the visibility of Lesbians - our struggles and successes;

- to identify and expose anti-Lesbianism;

- to encourage an awareness of the needs of Black Lesbians and Lesbians of Colour, Disabled Lesbians, Fat Lesbians, Irish Lesbians, Jewish Lesbians, Old Lesbians, Lesbian Separatists, Working Class Lesbians, Young Lesbians and Lesbians everywhere.


L.I.S. will do this by: providing an enquiry and referral service and developing a national Lesbian Newsletter and Network; production of training materials for work with Lesbians; setting up a library of books, periodicals and general information; production of book lists; providing training courses for Lesbians and awareness training for heterosexuals; work with Young Lesbians; and conducting research.

REPORT JULY 1989 - JULY 1990

There were no training courses run by L.I.S. during this period, nor were there any conferences.


Lesbian Studies Pack

A draft pack on the Lesbian Studies Course (held in Nottingham Lesbian Centre, March - May 1989) has been produced. It is expected that another Lesbian Studies Course will be run during the period July 1990 -
July 1991 which will be based on this Pack. It is hoped that the Pack will then be amended and published. The Pack is for Lesbians only and consists of:

A Lesbian Studies Course of 12 two-and-a-half-hour sessions on: Session 1: administration, expectations, course outline, contract, icebreakers, handouts - short book list; course outline; useful addresses. Sessions 2 & 3: What is Heterosexism: how are institutions such as the law (immigration, Lesbian mothers, work, section 28), education, the health service, government, the family, art, religion, heterosexist? How do individuals reveal their heterosexism/Lesbian hatred? Sessions 4, 5 & 6: How does heterosexism affect Lesbians? internalised Lesbian hatred; passing; horizontal hostility; low self esteem; health - depression, suicide, drug dependency; effects on relationship, sexuality, battering, pornography, sado masochism, role playing. Sessions 7 & 8: Parallel Oppressions - Sexism, Racism, Ageism, Ableism, Classism, Fat Oppression. Sessions 9 & 10: Politics - compulsory heterosexuality, feminism, separatism, alliances, trade unions, gay politics, christianity. Session 11: History - reclaiming our past from Sappho to now. Session 12: Culture/Community - Lesbian culture, records, films, books, networking, support groups, organisations, international links. Plus a variety of handouts related to sessions.

L.I.S. Annual Report 1988-1989

Short Report including: the setting up of L.I.S.; aim and objectives; development of Lesbian Information Service Newsletter (LISN); Funding applications; Lesbian Studies Course; L.I.S. Publications; General
Remarks; Income & Expenditure Account; and Index for LISN July 1988 to April 1989.

Short Book-list & Lesbian Health Book-list

Both of these book-lists have been up-dated.


Indexes for "LISN" and "Lesbian International", July 1987 - July 1990 have been compiled. Notes for a Lesbian Workshop on the Needs for a Lesbian Hostel.

Preparation notes for a workshop on the needs for a Lesbian Hostel are available. These are for Lesbians Only.

Preparation notes for the Classism Workshop in the Lesbian Studies Course are available for Lesbians only.


Many Lesbian books have been added to the Library as well as numerous Lesbian Journals from all over the world.


L.I.S. continues to receive enquiries from all over the world. Notably enquiries have come from isolated Lesbians throughout Britain, in particular Young Lesbians, and requests for information concerning
research projects.


Due to the stress of producing a monthly newsletter we decided that, as from June-July 1989, the newsletter would be bi-monthly. At the same time, it would be almost double in size (c.50 pages). In response to
requests from subscribers and in line with the development of LISN, the publication became available for Lesbians only (previously it had been available for women only).

The international side of the work of L.I.S. was developing all the time; in line with this we amended our aim (as above) and with the Oct/Nov issue changed the title to "Lesbian International."

Extensive world-wide publicity was carried out and whilst this meant widening international contacts it did not mean increased subscriptions. Functioning on a world-wide basis meant that response was slow and
communication difficult. We needed to seek out networks and contacts. The searching process and making ourselves known was a costly and time-consuming occupation. We were not getting responses sufficiently
quickly to enable us to cover our expenses to continue promotion. At the same time, opposition to our completely Lesbian focus and the development of our radical politics meant that many Lesbians did not
re-subscribe. Our increasing knowledge about Lesbian oppression made it inevitable that we would tackle that oppression head-on. We raised difficult and controversial issues, some for the first time in this

Due to declining subscriptions, lack of support, exhaustion (we had been producing a newsletter for three-and-a-half years, non-stop) and Lesbian-hating attacks, we decided to make the June/July 1990 the last



Since Lesbian Information Service was set up in 1987 (and including previous work with Lesbians) it became abundantly clear, not just from the various letters received from isolated Young Lesbians all around the
country but also from the work L.I.S. conducted in 1987/88 with a Young Lesbian Group and the on-going support of members of that Group, that Young Lesbians are a very neglected and needy group. Indeed, we are pleased to be able to record that as a result of developing a relationship with Leicester Family Housing Association we have been able to refer two Young Lesbians to them and they have been given accommodation. We decided that the major area of work for L.I.S. for the future would be a Young Lesbian Research Project.


The aim of the project is to conduct research into the needs of Young Lesbians (up to 25 years old) in order to highlight their experiences, examine what provision and intervention activities exist, to suggest
possible future strategies and to establish a National Support Network for Young Lesbians.


1. To contact as wide a group of Lesbians as possible and try to ensure that all Lesbians are included, i.e. Black Lesbians; Minority Ethnic Lesbians; Disabled Lesbians; Working Class Lesbians; Jewish Lesbians; Fat Lesbians.

2. To ensure that other discriminatory elements, such as Racism, Classism, Anti-Semitism, Ageism, Ableism, Sexism, Imperialism, Ethnicism, and Fat Oppression, are acknowledged.

3. To ensure that cultural and religious aspects are included.

4. To concentrate specifically on Young Lesbians up to the age of 25 years but to also include information about older Lesbians to contrast their experiences.

5. To take account of the fact that many Young Lesbians do not call themselves Lesbians.

6. To identify what provision/intervention activities exist for Young Lesbians.

7. To highlight the problems Young Lesbians face e.g. homelessness; alcohol/drug abuse; mental stress; examples of discrimination; lack of access to information; outness/closetedness; support; etc.

8. To identify what research has been completed into the needs of Young Lesbians - both in Britain and abroad.

9. To compile a list of relevant resources for working with Young Lesbians.

10. To produce/establish:

A model for developing work with Young Lesbians at a local level; establish a Young Lesbian Group in East Lancashire. (Stage I: Aug - Oct 1990). Recommendations for an area/county wide approach to work with Young Lesbians (Lancashire); establishment of various Young Lesbian Groups and a support network for Young Lesbians in Lancashire and support/training for workers who work with Young Lesbians. (Stage II: Nov - Ap 1991).

A publication containing the findings and analysis of the complete research project (Stages I, II and III - England) and the development of a National Network of Support for Young Lesbians. (Stage III: May 1991 - May 1992)

The Project to Date

A great deal of background work has gone into the preparation of the Young Lesbian Research Project. Letters of support have been obtained from the National Association of Young People's Counselling and Advisory Services, the National Youth Bureau, North London Line (Young Lesbian and Gay Project), and academic support from Bradford University. A local support group is in the process of being formed.

Limited funding has been secured from Lancashire County Council (Youth & Community Service) for the first Stage, which will begin in August, 1990. It is anticipated that funding will be acquired (again from Lancashire County Council, but this time including Social Services) for the second Stage. A donation of £135 was received to purchase dictation and transcription machines. A funding application has been submitted to Telethon to purchase computer equipment (hard disc to convert present computer and relevant soft-ware to set up a data base) as well as monies to cover running costs and some costs towards worker for the second Stage.

Much of the work towards achieving Objective 8 (To identify what research has been completed into the needs of Young Lesbians - both in Britain and abroad) has begun. Responses to requests for information
have been received from Aotearoa (New Zealand) where a Young Lesbian is conducting a thesis concerning Young Lesbians at School; from Australia, where a psychologist is examining the experiences of Young Lesbians regarding self-image, accepting Lesbian identity, family and friends, relationships, etc; and from the Netherlands, which is in Dutch and is currently being translated but which relates to policy made by local government concerning the needs of Young Lesbians, one of the conclusions being that the plans made by the local government to support Young Lesbians does not fit with the situation that the girls are in. We are currently awaiting a copy of another research project into the experiences of Young Lesbians which was also conducted in the Netherlands. Correspondence has also been conducted with various Lesbian and Gay Youth Organisations in the United States of America, where it appears that there has not been any research into the specific needs of Young Lesbians.

An article concerning the needs of Young Lesbians was published in the National Youth Bureau's "Young People Now" (July 1990) and some responses, from Young Lesbians, have been received which are forming the start of the National Young Lesbian Support Network.

Information about the Project was given at a Conference for Lesbian and Gay Youth Workers in May 1990 and circulated to all members of the National Lesbian and Gay Youth Workers Association.


General Situation

Any evaluation of L.I.S. should be viewed in the context of reactions post Section 28 of the Local Government Act and other Government Acts.

During 1988 there were many demonstrations by Lesbians, gay men and supporters opposing the introduction of Clause 28; this had the effect of giving Lesbians and gays, but particularly the latter, greater visibility. There would still seem to be a knock-on effect of this to some extent within the television media (due to the high profile given to the 'arts' during campaigns against the Clause): there has certainly been more coverage of Lesbian and gay issues (especially for gay men); one particularly notable programme being "Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit," a BBC2 adaptation of Jeanette Winterson's novel concerning a Young Lesbian growing up in Lancashire during the late 1960's early 1970's. Another programme, aimed at Lesbians and gays and the general public, "Out On Tuesday," which began in 1989, continued for a second season in 1990. The programme, however, has not been received favourably by many Lesbians; this is partly due to the high profile the all-Lesbian production company gave to gay men during the first season but also because of the issues it covers. Rather than being an informative, serious programme which challenges discrimination/oppression (like Network East or Bandung File or Same Difference, programmes for other Minority groups) Out On Tuesday has done little to expose the discrimination against Lesbians. The newspaper media has continued in its Lesbian-hating attacks.

The on-going effects of Section 28 has meant that many Lesbian organisations have lost their funding or had funding refused, using Section 28 as an excuse. Coupled with the introduction of the Community Charge (Poll Tax) many (most) local authorities have cut back on their 'equal opportunities' policies which has meant the withdrawal of funding for mixed organisations and the closure of groups. Most notable are the decisions by the Association of London Authorities to drop the posts of Lesbian and Gay Officer (the Lesbian post had been frozen for some time); and the decision by Manchester City Council to drop the proposed new Lesbian Centre (but the new Gay Centre has been completed and continues to be funded). The Lesbian Officer posts in Manchester had been frozen for some time.

Without the support of funding many voluntary groups and organisations have closed, or are going through a particularly difficult time. The Organisation for Lesbian and Gay Action recently folded.

Another, devastating, effect of Section 28 is that thousands of Lesbians, who were coming out of the closet and taking on proud Lesbian identities in order to challenge the negative images portrayed by the media and the rest of society, have gone back into the closet. The negative effects of hiding one's sexuality has been emphasised in research (see, for example, the Final Report of the National Lesbian Health Survey, Judith Bradford and Caitlin Ryan, National Lesbian and Gay Health Foundation, PO Box 65472, Washington, D.C. 20035, USA, as well as other research:

"'Outness' is a critical concept for understanding Lesbian behaviour, since it refers to an aspect of homosexual reality which has no counterpart in the lives of non-gay people. It is within this dimension of gay life that social marginality can best be under-stood, for while some people see homosexuals as another minority group, many more still view gay people as profoundly different and pathological; and Lesbians risk rejection whenever they disclose their orientation ('come-out') to non-gay people.

Yet, to live in a two-world existence requires a great deal of psychic energy and is thereby inherently stressful. A number of researchers have documented the psychological benefits which accompany coming-out understood as a developmental process while others have explored the dynamics involved. It seems clear that coming-out to self and significant others can be expected to have a health-facilitating effect within the lives of many Lesbians..."

At the same time, there is an increase in suicides of young people in Britain, including - especially - Young Lesbians and Gays. Other U.S. research has identified the greater risk Young Lesbians and Gays are
subjected to. A recent HMI Report also acknowledged the needs of homosexual young people:

"The needs of homosexual young people are a concern of many youth workers and youth counselling agencies. Youth workers reported that young people who are homosexual can feel isolated and hesitate to discuss their feelings about sexual identity. They fear rejection and attack if they 'come out' and many who had done so said that they went through periods of severe depression, some contemplating suicide..."

"...The individual stories of group members reveal the extreme difficulties they face in coming to terms with their own sexuality exacerbated by the hostility with which they are surrounded. They often feel cut off from the usual support groups within the youth service which they hesitate to approach for fear of being rejected or judged harshly. They also usually lack the informal peer group discussion through which friends will share problems and often recommend an agency. It seems that unless they can be sure that counsellors will be supportive, they hesitate to make the initial approach. Consequently they rely on specialist groups for help..."

Apart from a grant from Leicester City Council, which funded the local activities of L.I.S. during 1987-1988, L.I.S. has never received funding. In 1988-1989 we applied to various organisations, including
the Equal Opportunities Commission, but were refused. We even had promised funding withdrawn (for the Lesbian Studies Course - Section 28 was used as the excuse by the Workers Education Association). L.I.S. exists totally from the voluntary work of the joint co-ordinators and a few donations we receive, subscriptions and payments for publications.

Taken alongside initiatives elsewhere in the world, for example in the U.S.A. the Senate has just passed a Hates Crimes Bill in which it makes it illegal to discriminate against Lesbians and in Aotearoa (New Zealand) Lesbians have received funding to set up a national Lesbian support network, in Britain institutional support of Lesbians is as bad as it has always been.

L.I.S. Moves

In December 1989 L.I.S. moved from Leicester to Lancashire/Yorkshire (Todmorden), along with the joint co-ordinators. This incurred a lot of expenses - not only moving the office equipment and library but having a telephone extension fitted, new letter-headed notepaper, etc., as well as a great deal of work in sorting out the office, organising new stationery suppliers, maintenance contracts for the equipment, publicity regarding the change of address, etc.

Aim and Objectives

Part of the Aim, "To facilitate communication and understanding between Lesbians Internationally" has been successfully achieved. Our international contacts expanded during the period July 1989 to July 1990 not
only by extra contacts in Europe: Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Yugoslavia, but also further afield: Australia, Ethiopia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, and the U.S.A. Some of these new contacts have been made as part of the Young Lesbian Research Project, as well as the newsletter.

The Indexes reveal the extent to which we successfully achieved the objectives via the newsletter, although there are areas where further work is required, i.e. on encouraging an awareness of the needs of Fat
Lesbians, Irish Lesbians and Working Class Lesbians.

We consider the decision to cease publishing the newsletter to be positive: the time involved in producing a regular newsletter was intensive. A desire to reflect on our activities to date and to consider future directions for L.I.S. seemed inevitable. We will now have space to concentrate on other projects, in particular the Young
Lesbian Research Project.


The Income and Expenditure Account for the year ended 6th July 1990 is contained in Appendix B.

The miscellaneous cash items cover mainly postage and stationery bought immediately after the move and before we had arranged purchase by cheque with new suppliers. The donation was made to a Young Lesbian who had been forced to leave home because of abuse after coming out to her parents.

L.I.S. has a stationery bill of £177.23 outstanding and is owed £248.37 for newsletter sales in shops, women's centres and by individual Lesbians.

Jan and Sandra have had to bear much of the burden of the move to Lancashire: change of address notices and international postage and PO Box changes; the full removal cost of relocating L.I.S., the cost of telephone extension, equipment insurance and a £60 bill for repair of the computer.

Since becoming international, we have received an increasing number of requests for information from Lesbian organisations overseas. Most of these requests do not include any money to cover our costs, often
because Lesbian organisations do not have any money. However, we are also receiving a number of requests from the u.s.a. for information about Lesbians worldwide because Lesbians are on world tours or going on holiday. These requests almost never include money! In the same way, L.I.S. has publicised or listed english (mainly London) Lesbian events for almost four years and we have rarely received any money for doing so. These are often funded organistions.

As stated elsewhere, we are now unable to subsidise the publication of "Lesbian International" and will only publish in future if we receive funds from Lesbians who value the work we are doing. In the event of
ceasing to publish "Lesbian International" we would, however, continue the Information Service, making charges for information provided.

Sandra Lucille, Treasurer

INCOME £     £

Subscriptions, sale of publications         2,789.03

TOTAL INCOME   2,789.03


Stationery         555.38
Printing, photocopying       381.44
Telephone         422.63
Rent, Rates, Electricity, Heating       156.76
Postage, PO Box       780.49
Conference, books, publications,
audio visual       45.55
Cash for miselllaneous       246.56
Equipment repair/service       99.17
Gift         30.00

TOTAL EXPENDITURE       3,148.00
NET LOSS FOR YEAR     (£328.97)