Rebel Dykes tells the story of a group of friends who, after meeting at the Greenham Common peace camp in the 1980s (ready to protest the plan to place nuclear weapons at RAF Greenham Common in Berkshire, England), formed a close-knit chosen family and went on to become rebellious artists, performers, musicians and activists.
Using interviews, original music, animation and a rich archive of video footage and photographs, Harri Shanahan and Sian A. Williams’s spirited and empowering film documents their experiences (in what was, we are told, both a great time and a terrible time to be “young and queer in London”) and explores their legacy.
Many of the friends had lived an invisible life before arriving at the peace camp. This was, of course, a dangerous time to be a lesbian. At constant risk of being attacked, the women talk of only wanting to go out at night - in the dark where their sexuality was less likely to be discovered.
At the camp, they discovered a ready made lesbian community and made lasting friendships. However, they soon found themselves fighting battles on a number of fronts. Some despressingly familiar, some more surprising. They began to express their views by becoming involved in activistism. Many Meanwhile, many found their voice by forming post-punk bands, publishing zines and creating confrontational art.
These rebel dykes fought for inclusive, sex- positive feminism - starting sex and fetish clubs and finding ways around anti-pornography laws. Meanwhile they fought homophobia on the frontline of AIDS protests - abseiling into the House of Lords to protest the anti-gay policies of Section 28.
The energy and solidarity in Rebel Dykes is inspiring and exciting. These are brilliant women sharing fascinating (entertaining) and important stories that deserve to be heard.