In the 70s, radical lesbians traveled the country in vans, looking for a lesbian paradise. Ariel Levy has a long and fascinating piece in this week's New Yorker on these "Van Dykes" and their history.
As Levy explains, the late seventies were a time of lesbian separatism in America, a time when it made sense to say, in the words of separatist publication The Furies, that lesbianism was "not a matter of sexual preference, but rather one of political choice which every woman must make if she is to become woman-identified and thereby end male supremacy." But for the Van Dykes it was both — they refused to speak to men except waiters and mechanics, believed the world was suffering from "testosterone poisoning," and tried to stop their vans only on Women's Land, "places owned by women where all women, and only women, were welcome." However, they were far from the "celibate 'political lesbianism'" of such activists as Barbara Lipschutz, who said women should "free the libido from the tyranny of orgasm-seeking. Sometimes hugging is nicer." Ex-Van Dyke Chris Fox says of her time with the group, "people were fucking their brains out."