When Is Lesbian Visibility Week
Lesbian Visibility Week is observed every year in the last week of April. In 2023 it’ll be from April 24th - 30th. It encompasses Lesbian Visibility Day, which is always on April 26th. It was originally founded in 1990 in West Hollywood, California and was observed annually in July. However, support waned and in 2020 Linda Riley (pictured below), the Publisher and CEO of the Lesbian monthly DIVA Magazine, revived it and it's run in April ever since.
What is Lesbian Visibility Week
The original idea of Lesbian Visibility Week was to raise awareness of Lesbian women (whether they identify as cisgendered, trans, gay, queer or non-binary), the issues we face and our lived experiences. It was created because there was a frustration that LGBTQ+ visibility was dominated by gay men.
That feeling was still part of Linda Riley’s decision to relaunch Lesbian Visibility Week in 2020. But also motivated by the results of a Pride Matters survey in 2018 that found that gay women felt unable to be out at work. The survey found they were half as likely to be out in the workplace as gay men.
Lesbian Visibility Day had been observed since 2008, but as Linda says: “I came to the conclusion that a single day for lesbian visibility was simply insufficient. We needed, and deserved, more time to shine a light on some of the amazing women in our community, and to celebrate who we are without fear of prejudice, harassment or vilification.”
The first of the new concept visibility weeks run by DIVA Media Group happened on April 20th 2020, not long after the pandemic lockdown was introduced.
The aim is to celebrate all LGBTQ+ women and non-binary people, especially those in the most marginalised communities, to create unity and to recognise, celebrate and support lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer women and non-binary people to be able to be our true selves anywhere, be it at work, at home or socially.
While the individual is massively important in the week, it’s mainly targeted at businesses. to get involved with events, awards, programmes and resources as part of a diversity and inclusion strategy. And to show their staff that they actively support lesbians of all genders.
Why Lesbian Awareness Is Important
It’s easy for LGBTQ+ people to feel isolated and alone when we identify as gay in a heteronormative society that has shown increasing intolerance recently. Being able to see others who think, feel and have the same lived experiences as we do can be life saving.
It’s critically important for everyone as individuals to be able to feel safe as who we are. To tell our authentic, diverse, and personal stories that reflect our lived experiences.
So we should celebrate the lives, achievements and contributions of lesbian women and non-binary people around the world. It also provides an opportunity for us to feel seen and find positive representation of real people from within the community. That kind of Lesbian affirmation & empowerment is critical.
Many in the community also use it to come out and declare their sexuality publicly, especially those in the public eye, because it’s critical for everyone to see we’re proud to be who we are, and it’s important to have role models. But it’s also important to acknowledge that due to discrimination or personal circumstances, not everyone can or wants to be visible.
It's also a time to raise awareness of discrimination towards the lesbian community. The war on trans people was always just a wedge to access the entire LGBTQ+ community and we have seen increasing levels of lesbophobia in the media and around the world, as religious intolerance powers an uplift in hate.
We have witnessed right wing political parties, governments and state legislatures feel emboldened to state their opposition to LGBTQ+ lives, financed and powered by the insidious ideologies of extremist religious groups and the disparate collections of far right organisations.
So this year it feels like it’s more important than ever to stand up and be counted. To raise our collective voices and say enough, but also to raise each other up.
The DIVA Power List
Each year to coincide with Lesbian Visibility Week DIVA Magazine and UK LGBTQ+ Charity Stonewall, publish The DIVA Power List, a list of 100 trailblazing and influential LGBTQ+ women and non-binary people.
The magazine editorial describes it like this: “DIVA will forever remain committed to representing everyone in our community. When we stand in solidarity and in peace with one another, we can achieve fantastic things. The individuals on this list are symbolic of that. The DIVA Power List is part of our wider pledge to uplift underrepresented groups and to make the unheard voices, heard.”
Some Lesbian Icons You Can Follow
How Can You Get Involved in Lesbian Visibility Week
As individuals we can be posting on our social media about our experiences, showing selfies and videos of our real lives and telling our stories about the issues we face, our achievements and what makes us joyful. Making ourselves visible. Celebrating who we are.
But visibility only goes so far. We know from recent world political events that human rights are not a given, they can be taken away. So while sharing and uplifting lesbian stories and voices is critical, we also need action. Here’s what you can do:
Uplift other lesbian voices in social media by retweeting or reposting.
Tweet and post on instagram using the hashtags #LesbianVisibilityWeek, #LVW23 or #LwiththeT.
Organise Lesbian Visibility Days at work and, if you’re not comfortable with public speaking, invite articulate lesbian advocates or activists to talk. Educate people about the community and the issues we face.
- Wear your t-shirts or clothing with lesbian flags on.
How Can Businesses Get Involved In Lesbian Visibility Week
There are a number of things you can do, depending on the size of your business.
Tell your workforce that you are an inclusive company and support lesbian as well as all other LGBTQ+ employees. But this is just words and must be supported by actions.
At a basic level you must ensure that you have a strong anti-discrimination policy when it comes to LGBTQ+ women. Make sure all staff know what is not tolerated. And if lesbophobic bullying or discrimination does happen act on it immediately.
Make sure all LGBTQ+ women on staff know who to go to to report any issues. And make sure they’ll be listened to in confidence and taken seriously.
Create mentoring, employee networking groups, events or seminars for LGBTQ+ staff.
Appoint some LGBTQ+ Ambassadors or Champions, and ensure you have a lesbian representative. Give them access to the senior directors, listen to their concerns and let them liaise with the LGBTQ+ staff. Celebrate them within the business.
Have an Ally Of The Month, a non-lesbian who has done something special and deserves to be celebrated.
- Start workplace training to help understanding of the lesbian community, the issues faced and how to recognise and eliminate discrimination.
You can also contact the DIVA Media Group team to become an official sponsor or supporter.
Here Are Some Resources
Some Great Books By Lesbian Authors
The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe
It's Not Like It's a Secret by Misa Sugiura
The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall
Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield
After Sappho by Selby Wynn Schwartz
Notes of a Crocodile by Qiu Miaojin
Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before by Dr. Julie Smith
Lesbian Key Dates
April 24th - 30th - Lesbian Visibility Week
April 26th - Lesbian Visibility Day
May 17th - International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Lesbophobia and Transphobia
Oct 8th - International Lesbian Day
Oct 11th - International Coming Out Day
The Lesbian Pride Flag
Based on the seven stripe flag this simplified version was created after some felt the seven stripes were too complicated. Two versions, with five and three stripes were put to a Twitter poll on @lesbianflag to find an official flag and the five stripe flag won. The meaning of the stripes are, from the top: Transgressive womanhood, community, gender non-conformity, freedom and love
Other LGBTQ+ Flags
Find out about all the LGBTQ+ flags we include in the shop and loads more here
Other LGBTQ+ Awareness Dates And Key Events
We have a full list of the important awareness, visibility and remembrance dates in the LGBTQ+ calendar plus some of the bigger pride events and interesting other events here. out about all the LGBTQ+ flags we include in the shop and loads more here