Letter: When lesbian meant monster

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IT IS NOT so surprising that, despite her affairs with women, Daphne du Maurier was contemptuous of lesbians ('Daphne's dilemma', Review, 14 March). It was only at the end of the last century, with the growing independence of middle-class women and an increasing awareness of sex in general, that lesbians were identified variously as psychotic perverts, a monstrous 'third sex' and a threat to the structure of society. Many early 20th-century women, unable to see a connection between these images and their own passionate relationships with women, must have assumed 'lesbians' were 'other people'.

Catherine Treasure

London NW2

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