Lesbian Visibility Week: 5 queer women using their platforms to change the world

Lady Phyll is weraing a sparkly necklace and jumper and smiling for the camera.

Lesbians who are leading the way for representation within the community have explained why it’s “essential” to celebrate Lesbian Visibility Week.

Lesbian Visibility Week , which takes place from 22-28 April this year, aims to celebrate sapphics while uplifting and showing solidarity with LGBTQ+ women and non-binary people from all generations, fields and countries.

As such, here are some lesbians who are using their platform to change the world.

Stephanie Suesan Smith 

A graphic composed of an image of Stephanie Suesan Smith, a lesbian who is also part of the disabled community, LGBTQ+ flags and a sign that reads 'no more patriarchy'
Stephanie Suesan Smith is fighting against the status quo that she sees as dividing people. (Stephanie Suesan Smith/Getty)

Stephanie Suesan Smith lives with Parkinsonian syndrome, an umbrella term used to cover a range of conditions that share similar symptoms to Parkinson’s disease and can encompass a number of conditions with movement-related effects.

The Texas-based writer has previously spoken about the need for the LGBTQ+ and disabled communities to “band together” to fight for a better future.

In celebration of Lesbian Visibility Week, she told PinkNews: “The status quo tries to divide us into small silos of disabled people: women, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, White Americans, and abled-body people, so that each silo has too few people to effectively challenge those who are fighting to not only not grant equal rights to everyone, but [also] claw back any rights we may have managed to pry out of their hands.

“If we all work together to demand our rights, we can insist that everyone is treated equally. We can vote the people who resist that out of office, and fight repressive policies together – and win.” 

Char Bailey 

Char Bailey
Char Bailey took part in a breast cancer awareness campaign. (Instagram/char_bailey_)

Model, writer and peak-performance coach Char Bailey uses her experience of being autistic to inform others.

Bailey has almost 40,000 followers on Instagram and, in October 2022, took part in an NHS breast cancer awareness campaign, which she shared, to encourage others to check their breasts.

Bailey previously shared with PinkNews her coping strategies for living with autism, which include yoga and hanging out with pets. 

Marcela Sánchez

Marcela Sánchez
Marcela Sánchez has called on the UN to protect LGBTQ+ rights in Colombia. (X/Twitter/@marcela_s_b)

Human rights defender Marcela Sánchez is the executive director of Colombia Diversa, a human rights organisation based in Bogotá that focuses on LGBTQ people’s rights. 

She has more than 10,000 followers on X/Twitter with whom she shares her campaigning work. 

Most recently she briefed the United Nations Security Council on LGBTQ+ persons in the Colombian peace process.

“Every attack against an LGBTQ person, every human rights defender killed, and every murder left uninvestigated, sends the message that our lives are dispensable,” she told the UN. 

“I hope this council can send a powerful signal to the LGBTQ population in Colombia that their lives matter and that you will stand by your commitment to protect their rights.”

Lady Phyll Opoku-Gyimah

Lady Phyll is weraing a sparkly necklace and jumper and smiling for the camera.
Phyll Opoku-Gyimah is an equality campaigner. (Phyll Opoku-Gyimah)

Activist Phyll Opoku-Gyimah – aka Lady Phyll – the chief executive of UK Black Pride, advocates for racial, gender and LGBTQ+ equality.

UK Black Pride is the world’s largest free Black Pride celebration, according to its website, and has taken place in London since 2005. In 2022, more than 25,000 people partied and protested in Stratford, London. 

Speaking to Cherwell about creating the event, Lady Phyll said: “Black Pride, as I always talk about it, was created, was born out of, a frustration, where we didn’t see ourselves in mainstream LGBTQ+ activities.” 

She featured in British Vogue last year and took to X to write: “My inner child, this little dark-skinned British-born African girl who was bullied and told was ugly, well, well, well: look at me now.” 

Teddy Edwardes

Founder of LICK Teddy Edwardes.
Teddy Edwardes founded Lick to fill the space she says is neglected by many LGBTQ+ spaces in the UK. (Supplied)

The majority of LGBTQ+ spaces in the UK neglect “the diverse voices and intersectional identities within the community”, Teddy Edwardes, who runs lesbian club nights through Lick Events, told PinkNews.

“This exclusion has resulted in a profound sense of alienation and marginalisation for many Black queer women who have felt overlooked and sidelined within these spaces.

“In response to this systemic issue, Lock has emerged as an essential platform for addressing the gaps in representation and actively prioritising the visibility and empowerment of Black queer women. 

“This intentional focus on representation sends a powerful message that all members of the LGBTQ+ community deserve to be seen, heard and supported in their quest for visibility, acceptance and equality.” 

Lesbian Visibility Week runs until Sunday (28 April).