The erasure of women throughout history is pervasive. From Hypatia to Grace Hopper, there have been brilliant female minds working towards human progress who were relegated to the footnotes by men who minimize their contributions. This is one of the dynamics that drove the modern women’s movement.
But that movement has done its own erasure. In 1969, Betty Friedan warned about the “lavender menace” in the women’s movement, referring to the presence of lesbians in their ranks. Uncomfortable with lesbians, she rationalized her personal aversion into lesbians presenting a threat to the movement as a whole, and she was able to garner enough support in some quarters that lesbians were excluded, squelched and ignored, and the enormous contributions they had made to the cause were downplayed, straight-washed or outright ignored.