In 2008, a group of allies and activists created International Lesbian Visibility Day to raise awareness about the issues that lesbians face all over the world. Today, we’re going to talk about why this day matters and how these kinds of events could help your lesbian child feel seen and accepted.
These days it seems like there’s a holiday for everything, and maybe you’re thinking it’s overkill. After all, why do we need to keep talking about people’s gender identity and sexual orientation? Can’t we just move on? In an ideal world, where everyone enjoys equal rights and representation, yes. In an ideal world we wouldn’t need to talk about any of this. But in the world we live in, these holidays and events are part of what helps us move toward that goal.
In many ways, lesbians have made great strides in the past few decades. In some places lesbian couples can get married, have children, and walk down the street holding hands without any fear of discrimination. But there’s still plenty of work to do, and visibility days are an important part of that work. Here’s why:
Representation helps “normalize” lesbian relationships and families.
Seeing lesbians portrayed in the media in a positive way helps other lesbians imagine a bright future for themselves. The more publicly available examples we have of lesbians living their lives, the harder it becomes to fall back on stereotypes.
The term lesbian is still taboo for many people.
Because of the history of violence and marginalization of women, it has been harder for lesbians than gay men to gain social acceptance. Consequently, as a society we’re more comfortable with the word “gay” than “lesbian.” The more we use the term, the more people who identify that way will feel comfortable and accepted for who they are.
Lesbians often experience double discrimination.
Imagine you’re a married lesbian woman working in a male-dominated law firm. You already know you’re at a disadvantage for being one of the few women on staff, and you’ve heard coworkers make anti-LGBTQ+ jokes around the office. Would you feel comfortable talking about your family? Putting a picture of your wife on your desk? Having to hide your identity at work can cause a lot of stress and anxiety.
Lesbians may have poorer health outcomes.
Many are hesitant to seek out medical care for fear of discrimination. In addition, living in a society with an anti-LGBTQ+ bias puts a lot of stress and anxiety on the body. That, in turn, puts lesbians at a higher risk for many chronic health conditions.
For all these reasons and more, holidays like International Lesbian Visibility Day continue to play an important role in ensuring that our lesbian daughters can live full, happy lives. At SFA we continue to work and educate about these issues so that someday we won’t need visibility days. Our LGBTQ+ children will be living their lives and loving whomever they choose, no questions asked.
For more information about International Lesbian Visibility Day (and Lesbian Visibility week) check out these resources: