Lesbian Visibility Day: Why We Celebrate It
Created to raise awareness on the various issues that women who love women (WLWs) face, Lesbian Visibility Day is celebrated on April 26th each year by lesbian and LGBTQ+ organizations around the world. And, frankly, it doesn't get talked about enough.
If you'd like to learn more about when, how, and why this day is celebrated, you've come to the right place. Read on to find out the significance of this day to the lesbian community.
Why We Celebrate Lesbian Visibility Day
Lesbian Visibility Day is celebrated around the world on April 26. The exact origins of this day remain largely unknown, but it cropped up in the US sometime in the late 2000s. In Europe, LGBTQ2SAI+ media group DIVA leads Lesbian Visibility Week, which will happen from April 26 to May 2 this year.
So why do we celebrate this event? Much like other LGBTQ2SAI+, lesbians have long faced discrimination and violence in their day-to-day lives. Because of the pressures of such threats, many queer people have been pushed to hide their true selves, rendering themselves virtually "invisible" out of fear and shame. The numbers don't lie – studies show that LGBTQ2SAI+ people have higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidal tendencies than the general population.
For lesbians, the problem is intensified by the misogyny and sexual objectification that women face. Being a woman in a patriarchal society is hard enough – being a lesbian brings a double whammy of social barriers. And even as the women's movement sought to grant women more freedom, lesbian rights were sadly often neglected.
What Can Lesbian Visibility Day Do For Women?
Through events, talks, social media campaigns, rallies, and protests, people from different communities can gain insight into the challenges faced by lesbians – from harmful stereotypes to issues of representation to discrimination and violence at home, school, the workplace, and even in the health sector.
With more information out there, community members and allies can recognize the issues, take part in changing attitudes, and challenge discriminatory legislation. For lesbians, especially closet lesbians, seeing role models and icons speak up about the issues they face can feel validating and liberating as well.
Over the years, various lesbians have taken advantage of the day to put a spotlight on the diversity of the lesbian community. Some have even spoken about the importance of recognizing where things like race, class, and disability intersect with gender and identity.
Lesbian Visibility Day has become a platform for women to talk about the problems existing with their communities, including the rise in anti-transgender rhetoric among trans-exclusionary radical feminists (TERFs). And much like Bisexual Pride Day and the Bisexual Awareness Week held by the Human Rights Campaign, Lesbian Visibility Day is also an opportunity for individuals and groups outside of the lesbian community to show their solidarity and love.
4 Ways To Celebrate Lesbian Visibility Day
Whether you're a lesbian, another member of the queer community, or a straight ally, you can participate in Lesbian Visibility Day in the following ways:
Learn About Lesbian-specific Issues
Lesbians face a myriad of issues specific to their group. Read up on lesbian history to get a handle on some of the challenges that have marred the community, and learn how you can contribute to making things better. You can also join or even lead a discussion with your close friends.
Follow Lesbian and WLW Publications
Don't know where to start your research? Local and international lesbian publications are great resources for these kinds of things. Autostraddle is probably the most popular lesbian publication out there today, but you can also take a look at LGBT sites like Out magazine, Them.US, and Lez Spread the Word.
Support Lesbian Organizations
Want to get into advocacy work? There are countless LGBTQ2SAI+ organizations you can join, support, or donate to. Here are a few to get you started:
- The Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives: This group is the largest LGBTQ2SAI+ archive on the planet. They work to preserve materials that tell and celebrate LGBTQ2SAI+ stories.
- Egale Canada: This is Canada's leading LGBTQ2SAI+ organization. According to their site, their work "helps create societies and systems that reflect the universal truth that all persons are equal and none is other."
- QMunity: Based in Vancouver, this non-profit provides a safe space for LGBTQ2SAI+ in British Columbia through free counselling, youth peer support, volunteer opportunities, special events, workshops, and educational resources.
- Rainbow Railroad: This Toronto-based organization is dedicated to helping LGBTQ2SAI+ escape state-sponsored violence. They provide pre-travel and logistical support to LGBTQ2SAI+ people seeking asylum around the world.
Join A Protest Or Rally
When Lesbian Visibility Week comes rolling in, you can get in touch with your nearest community centre to find out if they are holding a protest or a rally near you. This is one excellent way to raise awareness of lesbian issues in your immediate communities.
As WLWs continue to face a myriad of challenges today, it's important as ever for people both in and outside of the community to bring these issues to light.
If you’re interested to learn more about other LGBTQ2SAI+ days and events, stay tuned to our blog!