In 2020, I founded Lesbian Visibility Week. Until then there had been an annual Lesbian Visibility Day, but this was simply not enough. It was clear to me that we needed more than just one single day to shine the spotlight on lesbian visibility.
There was another big reason why I created Lesbian Visibility Week. I had noticed that more and more, the L in LGBTQ+ was becoming particularly marginalized. I am a proud cis lesbian and a proud trans ally. But many in the LGBTQ+ community were beginning to equate cis lesbians with transphobes, which is fundamentally untrue. I wanted to help create a narrative that shows once and for all that the vast majority of cis lesbians are inclusive. We are intersectional. We want to remove any negative connotations associated with that word. So this is why during Lesbian Visibility Week we celebrate and center all lesbians, both cis and trans, while also showing solidarity with all LGBTQ+ women and nonbinary people.
Now in its third year, I am delighted to see Lesbian Visibility Week growing from strength to strength and the huge backing and reclaiming of the word lesbian. This year we’re kicking off a raft of amazing events from yesterday, April 25. Visit LesbianVisibilityWeek.com for more info.
We want you to get involved too and post your pics on social media, using the hashtag #LVW22. Seeing #LesbianVisibiltyWeek trending, the word lesbian being used with such positivity and the support shown by our allies always gives me such great joy.
Over the last few years of Lesbian Visibility Week, one of the most surprising aspects for me personally has been discovering that there are still so many people in our community who do not know what the lesbian flag looks like. This needs to change. I hope to see the lesbian flag being displayed on a global scale so that more and more people become familiar with it. I also hope for the creation of a lesbian flag emoji in the very near future. This is our flag. Let’s fly it high, let’s fly it proudly.
With that in mind, whether you identify as lesbian, bisexual, queer, trans, nonbinary, or — for that matter — if you’re not a fan of labels and you just love women, I’d love you to change your social media profile pictures to the colors of the lesbian flag during Lesbian Visibility Week. Let’s not forget that there are women and nonbinary people out there who face homophobia, lesbophobia, and transphobia. Proudly flying the lesbian flag is just one way we can express our solidarity.
After decades — or even centuries — of being sidelined, ignored, and vilified, it really is incredible to see that LGBTQ+ women and nonbinary people are now making their presence felt in the arts, politics, business, and the third sector. With so much more visibility than we have had in the past, it is easy to assume that the legal rights of marginalized groups are on a permanently upward, positive path. But the sad truth is that equality and human rights can vanish at the stroke of a pen.
LGBTQ+ rights are being rolled back globally. In the U.S., there is a slew of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, including Florida’s “don’t say gay” law, that is rolling back the rights of our community in dozens of states. We recently discovered that the U.K. government is excluding trans people from a long-awaited conversion therapy ban, and anti-trans rhetoric appears daily in our newspapers.
The fight is far from over. Let’s remember that this is Lesbian Visibility Week, and let’s tell the world how proud we are to be who we are.
Linda Riley is the publisher and CEO of Diva Magazine. Follow her @LindaRiley8.