First introduced to the Gay Liberation Front by women who had been active in the women’s liberation movement, consciousness-raising (C-R) became a central activity for many gay liberationists and radical lesbians. Structured as small groups, C-R sessions centered on a single topic, with every participant “giv[ing] testimony” from his or her personal experiences. C-R served as a tool for activists to share their individual experiences in order to uncover their “common oppression”—to expose the ways that the personal was in fact political. The intimate setting of the groups encouraged equal participation and strong bonds among members, although individuals of different backgrounds sometimes had trouble understanding each other's experiences.
Ellen Shumsky talks about some of the difficulties her Radicalesbians C-R group faced:
While C-R was criticized by some as merely “a therapy session,” it was an important way for gay men and women to understand their oppression, create new forms of theory, and develop a basis for political action.