Lesbian Visibility Week 2023 is delivering a powerful trans-inclusive message
Lesbian Visibility Week 2023 is set to be celebrated in the last week of April, offering a chance to honour lesbian trailblazers throughout history while also highlighting the issues still facing the community today.
Observed annually across the UK and beyond, the seven-day event expands on the longstanding Lesbian Visibility Day, platforming lesbian voices from across the community and extending solidarity to LGBTQ+ women and non-binary people.
This year, Lesbian Visibility Week will be held from Monday, 24 April to Sunday, 30 April. It will coincide with the widely-marked Lesbian Visibility Day on Wednesday, 26 April.
What is Lesbian Visibility Week and when did it start?
The official Lesbian Visibility Week website explains that the event is designed to give a space for frank discussion of the struggles of lesbians, queer women and non-binary people are facing today in their personal and professional lives.
In a powerful display of unity with trans and non-binary people, organisers state on the website: “Lesbian Visibility Week aims to show our solidarity with all LGBTQI woman and non binary people in the community, as well as celebrate lesbians.
“It is essential that Lesbian Visibility Week is a voice for unity and lifts up ALL women, especially those who come from marginalised communities.”
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The concept of Lesbian Visibility Week dates back to the early 1990s, when an event was held annually in California from 1990-92 and was even partially funded by the city of West Hollywood.
Lesbian Visibility Day re-emerged as a single day of celebration in the UK more than a decade and a half later, in 2008, and has been endorsed by organisations such as Stonewall, UK Black Pride among several LGBTQ+ activists and publications.
In 2020, a full, week-long Lesbian Visibility Week made a triumphant return, founded by DIVA publisher Linda Riley. Diva is a European magazine targeted at LGBTQ+ women and non-binary people.
In a Stonewall letter explaining why she introduced a week-long celebration, Riley wrote: “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.”
Why is Lesbian Visibility Week needed in 2023?
Amplifying the intersectional voices of lesbian, queer and trans women has never been more important. The UK Census 2021 data showed more Gen Z are identifying as lesbian, gay and bisexual than ever – currently 6.91 per cent (436,000) of the population.
Across all age ranges, more women are identifying as queer than men, at 3.32 per cent (830,000) versus 3 per cent (706,000) respectively.
Meanwhile, anti-trans groups such as the LGB Alliance continue to whip up division between cis lesbians and trans women under the slogan “LGBWithoutTheT”.
This year, Lesbian Visibility Week is fully embracing trans and non-binary inclusion with the hashtag “LWithTheT”.
Riley has described the “opposition to the rights of our trans siblings” from some cis lesbians as “louder and more toxic” than ever.
The week will provide an opportunity to bolster support for trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming people as part of the wider lesbian community. In March, 800 lesbians from the Trans/Lesbian Solidarity group signed an open letter to the trans-exclusionary group The Lesbian Project.
How can you get involved?
There is also the opportunity to host your own Lesbian Visibility Week event and register it on the website for promotion, bringing the community together.
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