Great post, Lisa. I think we will have reached true equality when all music is judged by its own merit, removed from the niches of "women composer," "gay composer," or even "church composer." I'm sympathetic to the reason why those categories exist, but I think there is a danger in giving too much credibility to the us vs. them mentality, even in the name of advocacy.That's a noble sentiment, but, I think, ahistorical. The mindset in operation isn't necessarily us versus them at all; I think it's more a mindset of honest self-identification.
I believe it's way too soon to discard categories such as "woman composer" and "gay composer." It's only recently that those categories have even existed. David del Tredici talks here about the number of great American composer who've been gay. He doesn't mention Corigliano and Rorem, but evidently he's got a long list. (Alex Ross had a few comments about related subjects.) You'd have to be crazy to try to discuss Britten, his life, and his work without taking his sexuality into consideration; it colored so much of his life, and brought him a very great muse.
As far as women go, how many women composers can you think of before, say, the 1960s? Crawford, L. Boulanger, Chaminade, Beach, Smyth, Fanny Mendelssohn, C. Schumann, Hildegard, Cozzolani, and....? Martinu had a talented student who died tragically young whose name is escaping me right now, but I've heard her music and it's good.
No one ever thinks twice about discussing Debussy in terms of his being a French composer, or Wagner as a German. If you don't discuss some composers in terms of their being women, you hide the fact that they are few, and that makes it harder to ask useful and interesting questions about why there have been so few women writing music in the western classical tradition.