Some years ago, about the time the 9th Street Bakery moved from its original location to the space now occupied by Elmo’s on 9th Street, I began every weekday morning reading the paper there and drinking their fine coffee. Every Thursday a group of women would come in and put several tables together. Over the course of several weeks I learned from unavoidably overheard bits of conversation that they jokingly called themselves The Lesbian Separatists. I thought that was a joke until I read a profile of Rudy at KC Johnson’s blog, Durham in Wonderland. KC is also co-author of a book on the Duke lacrosse case, Until Proven Innocent, about Duke professor Kathy Rudy:

Upon first coming to Durham, Rudy recalled that she “moved quickly into the lesbian community because there was a growing sentiment in feminist discourse that lesbianism was the most legitimate way to act out our politics.” Within this “progressive” neighborhood in west Durham, “Many of us thought that by avoiding men and building a parallel, alternative culture, we were changing the world . . . I managed to live most of my daily life avoiding men all together, and spent most of my social time reading, dreaming, planning, talking, and writing about the beauty of a world run only by women, . . . free of [men’s] patronizing dominance.” Rudy and her fellow radical feminists oriented their activities around “the ideas that women were superior and that a new world could be built on that superiority.”

I don’t know what year Rudy came to Durham, but she sounds a lot like one of those Lesbian Separatists to me.