Sexual Orientation

I think they were all afraid that they’d be tarred with the same brush. I guess it’s like any marginal group. If somebody in your group is doing something that is not considered to be mainstream, you’re all kind of lumped in together... They would have considered something like being a lesbian as a bit extreme.

– Sandy Pottle, former Women Centre Coordinator for the St. John’s Status of Women Council, on why some women were resistant to having openly gay women associated with the Women’s Movement

Sexual orientation was rarely talked about in the 70s. But by the 1980s, more people were comfortable with being openly gay. The question of how lesbian rights and issues fit into the Women’s Movement sometimes caused tension within some women’s groups, while other groups ignored it. However, at least few attempts were made to address these issues on a provincial level. For instance, women at a Provincial Women’s Lobby in 1987 urged the government to include protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation in the provincial Human Rights Code.