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PRINT Summer 2019

LET’S GO, LESBIANS

Jill Johnston and an unidentified woman embrace onstage during “A Dialogue on Women’s Liberation,” Town Hall, New York, April 30, 1971. Photo: Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images.

"ALL WOMEN ARE LESBIANS,” the writer Jill Johnston told a packed house of rowdy New York literati in the spring of 1971, two years and forty blocks removed from the violent queer riots that consecrated the Mafia-owned Stonewall Inn as Ground Zero of gay liberation. Johnston was fighting the same war in a different theater—the Town Hall theater on West Forty-Third Street, to be exact, now bristling with cultural elites who had paid twenty-five dollars a head to hear a debate on the women’s movement. “All women are lesbians,” Johnston told them, “except those who don’t know it, naturally.”

Johnston—dungarees and all, the token degenerate on a panel on women’s liberation headlined by noted man-fucker Germaine Greer and moderated by noted man Norman Mailer—was one of the ones who knew it. Over dinner in Chinatown, the Theater for Ideas organizer had advised the panelists, among them

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