Conference for Radical Women

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The Conference for Radical Women, a conference by and for Cleveland-area lesbian feminists, was held on May 15-17, 1981, at Camp Yakwei in Austinburg, Ohio. The Radical Feminist Lesbian Conference, organized by DKYE in 1975, preceded the 1981 Radical Thought Conference. Members of the Berkshire Hag House Lesbian Collective, including Sally Tatnall, organized the The Radical Thought Conference. Concerned with the “conservative political mood of the city and country” in 1980s Cleveland and “faced with issues of survival of [Cleveland’s lesbian feminist] community], members of the Hag House collective organized sought to provide Cleveland-area lesbian feminists with “a chance to share concerns and successes, as well as visions for the future” while facilitating an “open discussion of issues and space for new ideas” to propel the community forward. Seeking to “[share] the vision of a woman-defined future for [themselves] and the next generation,” organizers encouraged attendees to “dare to think about the ideal community for Cleveland women and its potential impact on the world” throughout the feminist conference. At the conference, women were able to network with other Cleveland-area lesbians while engaging with “feminist visions for the future.” Workshops on a variety of topics (including “health and healing, women’s houses, economic empowerment for women, chemical dependency, radical feminism, land, far liberation, lesbian unity, issues around work, battered women, spirituality, women’s music and culture, ecology, social spaces, women against pornography, and feminist media”) where scheduled throughout the day on Saturday the 16th. Outside of conference workshops, a Friday evening coffeehouse and Saturday evening campfire presented opportunities for conferencegoers to “relax and socialize.” The Conference for Radical Women later inspired the lesbian feminist Radical Thought Conference in 1986.

What She Wants. May 1981.

Additional information coming soon.


  • “A Decade of Milestones.” What She Wants. April-May 1983. Page 13.
  • C., L. W. “Radical Women’s Conference May 15-17.” High Gear. May 1981. Page 7.
  • Chenier, Elise. “Lesbian Feminism.” GLBTQ Archives. 2004.
  • “Conference for Radical Women.” What She Wants. April 1981. Pages 2, 14.
  • “Debra Hirshberg Interview, 11 July 2023.” Cleveland Voices.
  • “Sally Tatnall Interview, 05 June 2019.” Cleveland Voices.
  • “Sally Tatnall Interview, 19 July 2023.” Cleveland Voices.
  • “Women’s Conference.” High Gear. December 1980. Page 3.
Cork Cold Springs Rd, Austinburg, OH 44010 (Camp Yakwei, now closed)

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