The experience of a lesbian member


by Rita

Twin Oaks is an intentional community of 100 people, with values of cooperation, non-violence and feminism. Each summer we host our annual Women's Gathering, and we also invite people to spend time here throughout the year, or to consider living here full-time. We support ourselves by working in one of several community-owned businesses (hammock-making, tofu-making, book-indexing). Here is the experience of one lesbian member of Twin Oaks.


You might ask how a sane 50 -year-old dyke came to travel 600 miles south in a 15-foot rental truck from Lesbianville, USA (Northampton, MA) to live in a rural commune of 100 people in central Virginia with a lesbian population of two! No, I am not crazy "¦ Let me tell you the story.


Northampton is a great place to live. There's a thriving lesbian community and the local colleges and businesses provide a solid infrastructure. I felt at home in the community and had a busy network of friends, acquaintances and socializing as well as meaningful work. However, through the years I continued to feel a calling to explore what I believe to be a saner way of life. I was searching for a way to integrate my work life with the rest of my life “ emotionally, physically, spiritually and intellectually with folks who by-and-large share similar values to those I carry close to my heart. Those values include non-violent communication, cooperation, income sharing, diversity, feminism and egalitarianism. I wanted to be able to practice my own spiritual tradition without being part of a "religious" community.


Over the years I joined friends and acquaintances in hours of intense discussion and creative play about the "possibilities" of community. Many of us had divergent views of what we wanted in community but all of us shared a passion for living together with one another in ways that fostered a more cohesive and sane world. During that time I explored various intentional communities. Twin Oaks kept coming up on the top of the pile as a community I wanted to explore because it seemed to most closely approximate the kind of community in which I would be able to grow, thrive and contribute.


After visiting Twin Oaks for three weeks (a requirement for anyone seeking membership) I knew that I wanted to return as a member despite the fact that there are so few lesbians living in the community at this time. I had come to feel, deep in my bones, the rightness of this life-style for me. The sanity of living on 500 beautiful wooded and farming acres, surrounded by an abundance of the natural world, with folks who are as human and fallible as I am and aren't afraid to show it won out. I decided to say "yes" when I was invited to return as a member. I figured that once I got here I'd just have to spread the word to the lesbian community across the country that this is a great place to come if you're looking for a saner way to live your life. The women here are terrific! "¦ and so are the men!


Imagine living and working day-to-day with women and men who are actively feminist. Imagine working in almost any area that interests you, without regard for whether it's typically a "man's" job. Imagine having lots and lots of strong women's energy surrounding you and working with you. Imagine living with folks who want to see the "real" you "“ the "you" that can act silly, be sad, ask for a hug, operate a sawmill, milk the cows, direct a play, get mad, be an activist, or do most anything else your heart desires. All that within a labor-creditable system that gives you labor credit for doing almost everything that needs to be done.


Is it Utopia? No it's not - we come with the same warts as the rest of the world. But we're certainly working on a vision passionately. And we'd love for all you dykes to come visit! Write for information or ask about our visitor program:


Twin Oaks

138-L Twin Oaks Rd.

Louisa,VA 23093.

Phone: 540-894-5126