In response to the Guest Commentary of 28 October written by Valerie Barr, Allison Bayer, and Deborah Porto, we submit the following letter.
We reject your definition of lesbians on the grounds that it is illogically supported and inaccurate. It is inaccurate because it does not include the criterion of homosexuality, although you may have intended to imply it. One the basis of this omission alone, the points that you raise in support of your definition are invalid. However, even if you had included this condition, we feel that your logic is inherently incorrect.
Is the transition between your three premises necessarily continuous? Must rejection of the patriarchy imply a commitment to other women? Must either or both of these result in physical or emotional love between women? If so, is it the case that all women are potential lesbians? We reject patriarchal definitions of ourselves and of our actions. We are not lesbians. We recognize the "validity of women" and are committed to them, yet we still are not lesbians. Couldn't your premise be taken as the definition of a woman aware of her own significance?
What about the reverse of your argument? If a woman is a homosexual, does she necessarily have to accept all of your premises? Can she not love another woman and still submit to the patriarchy? Is this woman not a lesbian, although a homosexual in the scientific sense of the word?
We reject your definition and your argument because they fail to distinguish between lesbianism and other valid forms of womanhood.
Mary Ann Faughan