Just last year, Gloria Steinem, said she that feels that black women “invented the feminist movement.” Now the 81-year-old feminist and activist that and stood arm in arm with notable black feminist like Maya Angelou, founded Ms. Magazine with Dorothy Pitman-Hughes and worked alongside Alice Walker, is speaking candidly about the pivotal role that queer women, black women and other women of color have played in women’s rights.
In Steinman’s mind, feminist issues have always centered around intersectionality. In an interview with Bust Magazine, she speaks of addressing how the media classified feminism as a “whitemiddleclass” movement in her book, My Life On The Road: “Nothing in this country is not affected by racism and sexism and class, it’s not as if one can be exempt from those influences. But in my experience, the women’s movement was less subject to them than any other large group that I’ve been part of. We all have different experiences and this probably wasn’t true from everyone, but I learned feminism disproportionately from black women. [Working with black feminists and queer feminists from the very beginning] was just always present. It might have been contentious. For instance, in the early days of the National Organization For Women, not anymore, but in the early days, there was a reluctance to include lesbians or to name discrimination against lesbians as a feminist issue. But by the late ‘70s, because of the national conference in Houston, that had changed and everyone was very clear that this was a feminist issue.”
As she once said, “The truth will set you free. But first it will piss you off.”