Rebecca Jennings
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Arena Three and the articulation of a collective lesbian identity
in Tomboys and bachelor girls
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In the spring of 1964, the first British lesbian magazine, Arena Three, was produced and circulated to a small number of subscribers. Amongst the most heated debates enacted in Arena Three throughout its eight years were those which touched upon issues identified in sexological and other medical and scientific writings on lesbianism. Alison Oram has argued that Minorities Research Group (MRG) sought to exploit medico-scientific interest in lesbianism, believing that collaborating in research would offer an opportunity to push MRG's own agenda. A proposal to establish a social club, suggested in the first issue of Arena Three, enabled many readers to crystallise their early notions of lesbian identity and to define the boundaries of their community. In addition to the fundamental conflict that existed between the material and discursive communities of MRG and Arena Three, the organisation of social meetings, particularly in London, exacerbated existing financial and administrative tensions.

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Tomboys and bachelor girls

A lesbian history of post-war Britain 1945–71


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