from Clinical/Therapeutic Issues
The study, "A Qualitative Analysis of the Lesbian Connection's Discussion Forum," was published in Journal of Counseling and Development, (Vol. 84, Issue 1, 2006, page 95+).
Erwin began her discussion by observing: "One of the best known successes of the gay movement was its assault on the American Psychiatric Association, which resulted in that association's decision in 1973 to remove homosexuality as a form of psychopathology from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (see Lerman, 1996)."
Erwin then described the early development of the lesbian movement in the U.S., including the organization of the Daughters of Bilitis in 1955 and the founding of numerous lesbian publications, including: Furies, Amazon Quarterly, Lesbian Tide, Sinister Wisdom, and others. A series of women's festivals in 1973 and 1974 led to the rise of lesbian artists such as Meg Christian, Cris Williamson, Holly Near, and MarNe Adams.
The researcher noted that the first issue of the Lesbian Connection was created by self-described "Ambitious Amazons" 28 years ago in Lansing, Michigan. Erwin conducted a qualitative analysis of the content of the Lesbian Connection for a two-year period between 2000 and 2002.
According to Erwin, "This study was based on the theory that positivist science can never fully represent the reality of the lesbian experience. My viewpoint, which is based on feminist standpoint theory, is that the position of lesbians in the hierarchy of political power produces a shared experience and unique body of knowledge for lesbians."
Erwin found (in examining 88 discussion topics and 253 responses) in the Lesbian Connection, that five themes emerged: isolation, safety and aging; children; lesbian relationships and sexuality; physical and mental health; and political issues.
Erwin recommended that counselors approach lesbian clients with an awareness of their own prejudices and sexual expression. "They [counselors] must be comfortable with their own sexuality and comfortable discussing issues of sexuality within the lesbian context in order to effectively counsel lesbian clients."
She also urged counselors to "assist lesbians by validating lesbian clients' feelings of anger and subordination. They can help clients find positive ways of channeling their rage, and they can join the cause to end the subordination of lesbian women."