While I disagree with you about Separatism, as a LeatherDyke Separatist myself, I put Lesbians first and foremost ALWAYS! While I did my stint in the woods for a month before I moved to California in 1984, I still go back yearly to get away from the menz and menz world to connect with women and Dykes, and to honor our Sacred Female and yes, AMAZON Selves. This is spiritually powerful to continue the fight in the menz world.....I'm not an Orthodox Jewish Separatist(and Jewish communities in my youth absolutely WERE Separatist, especially the Orthodox ones), but rather my Separatism is in my focus: worshipping only the Sacred Female, both sexually and spiritually and on every other level. Lesbians come first and foremost, and then all born females....it is the current Separatists that have kept this focus and continue to, and other Radical Dykes, while all the others are sold out lock stock and barrel to the menz, gay, straight, trans and formerly 'male'(mtf's).
But, I DO agree with you, when I first came out I did not understand the whole 'political lesbian' thing, and in some ways never have.....one cannot be something they are not, which is why in some ways I trusted the drunken neanderthal self hating bar dykes more than the radical feminist 'political' dykes, not dykes who were political and radicalized me, especially the Dyke Witches, but 'political' lethsbians...those who claimed lesthbianism, but weren't. I tried to date a few of those, but it never got past cuddling...in fact my first two 'political' lesbian lovers who I met on campus through the political lesbian organizations went back to men...it fucked me up in my head cuz my mom kept saying 'it was a phase' and I was living with her at the time....
Well, for me, once I was out, I WAS OUT...there was NO going back to men for me! Been there, done that, NO THANK YOU....so the whole 'it's oppressive to be with men' bit I/you must/can be a Lesbian did not and DOES NOT work. It is and was coopting of Dyke culture, and those women eventually betrayed us in many ways because they were going against THEIR natural desires, instead of as het/bi women finding THEIR OWN empowerment within the feminist movement as women.
The 'back to the land' bit was and is empowering for many Lesbians who got to do it, but it's also isolating, without the economic resources to create viable communities, alot of those lands ended up in dissension and difficulty, and many were lost...but for some they were and are safe spaces to be, to be separate from a damaging male culture that alienates and annihilates us and our voices and our burgeoning Lesbian communities. We NEED these refuges from time to time...and for some of us more than just from time to time....BUT we DO also need to engage with each other in city environments too, and have safe havens while dealing with the greater whole.
Unlike many religious/ethnic groups that are successful, Lesbians failed to keep matronizing their institutions, their bookstores, their cultural venues, keeping them by and for primarily or exclusively for Lesbians and/or women only....such cultural institutions DO exist in a Separatist way, for THEIR minority/ethnic communities alone, to keep their communities powerful, and as an organized group, to then deal with the mainstream as a powerful COHESIVE unit.
Lesbians failed to do that. We could not keep the cohesion because we kept dividing off from each other, and it's still continuing to happen.
Only when we decide to put our Dyke identities first and foremost, as Lesbian Separatists have always done, will we be able to grow our Lesbian communities as viable institutions as a force to be dealt with, again...I just hope it's not too late to do so....and that other Dykes are feeling this same urge.