Rita Mae Brown

“I joined NOW, and I was the youngest person there and I think I was the only southerner. I called them on the carpet about class, and I called them on the carpet about race, and then I called them on the carpet about lesbianism, I said, ‘You are treating women the way men treat you. And those women are lesbians.’”

 Photo by Diana Davies

Photo by Diana Davies

Rita Mae Brown was a charismatic figure in the early lesbian feminist movement. She joined NY NOW in 1968, but parted ways with Betty Friedan over the lesbian issue. She was involved with Radicalesbians, and from 1970 to 1972 she was a member the lesbian separatist group, The Furies.  Brown played a leading role in the Lavender Menace zap at the 2nd Congress to Unite Women in 1970.  An award-winning novelist, her first novel, Rubyfruit Jungle, is a frank and funny tale of lesbian life. She is the bestselling author of the Sneaky Pie Brown series; the Sister Jane series; the first two books in her Nevada series: A Nose for Justice and Murder Unleashed; In Her Day; and Six of One; as well as several other novels. An Emmy-nominated screenwriter and a poet, Brown lives in Afton, Virginia.