Pull out your calendars folks and highlight April 26th as an important day to celebrate the lesbian experience. This April 26th marks the 11th anniversary of International Lesbian Visibility Day on a global scale; a day honoring the plight and individuality of those women who represent the L in the LGBTQI+ community. Although not much […]
Pull out your calendars folks and highlight April 26th as an important day to celebrate the lesbian experience. This April 26th marks the 11th anniversary of International Lesbian Visibility Day on a global scale; a day honoring the plight and individuality of those women who represent the L in the LGBTQI+ community.
Although not much is known about the origins of the holiday, many have attributed the first year of its celebration to 2008 in Spain due to their strong presence in the fight for the rights of the members of the community.
While society as a whole has come a long way in their acceptance of human sexuality and gender identity, there is still a long way to go to guarantee that everyone enjoys the luxury to experience the freedoms that heteronormative males enjoy on a daily basis. It´s 2019 people so from Axel Hotels we want to take a moment to recognize the women who will be celebrating and why it´s so important to do so.
Why is International Lesbian Visibility Day so important?
In many parts of the world, being an out and proud lesbian carries along with it a slew of discrimination or, in the most extreme of cases, is even classified as a crime.
In 73 countries around the world, homosexuality is still considered illegal with only a third of them even allowing members of the LGBTQI+ community to bring a complaint of a violation of their human rights to the UN Human Rights Committee.
On top of that, in some countries practices subjecting members of the lesbian community to severe mistreatment and atrocities run rampant such as the so-called corrective rape popular in South Africa.
With all the shock factor the current state of things can sometimes provide, you would think that the subject matter would receive more attention…
After suffering centuries of discrimination women at least have the #MeToo movement to give them a voice, but it can leave members of the lesbian, bisexual, and trans community feeling pushed aside.
That is why recognizing and celebrating International Lesbian Visibility Day is so vital. The best way to ensure that society keeps moving forward and no one feels like they have been forgotten is to push for visibility.
Highlighting the importance of the holiday can go a long way to start to close the gap that exists between the things that need to be changed, the attention they receive, and the actions set forth to fix them. Those who are able to speak up and demand positive change from their communities carry the weight of the women who can´t for fear of persecution.
International Lesbian Visibility Day presents an opportunity to remember that sexual orientation only represents one layer of someone´s identity. Outside of this common nexus, they are strong women who contribute to society in the same way everyone else does. They are our mothers, daughters, and sisters who all deserve to be recognized.
The Modern-Day Lesbian
Granted the lesbian identity sometimes rears its head in pop culture such as with several characters in the colorful cast of Orange is the New Black on Netflix. Even still, it´s a far cry from being a true and faithful representation of the day to day lesbian experience.
The world is not a prison forcing you to choose a sexual orientation out of convenience or boredom. It´s been a long time since the L Word finale, so where is our Will (of Will and Grace), our RuPaul, or Fab 5?
A lack of representation in media isn´t the only obstacle the modern-day lesbian has to face. Furthermore, the list of lesbian stereotypes is endless. Are you a lipstick lesbian or a chapstick lesbian? Are you femme or butch? In such modern times what is the point of systemizing or whitewashing identities in order to check off certain prerequisites on some unspoken widely accepted list in order to figure out who you are? Every member of the community is different, so these generalizations and stereotypes are an extreme disservice.
There was once a time in which lesbians felt the need to conform to one of these labels if they wanted to be out and accepted by society. Many parts of the world can now look back on that time in the rear-view mirror making lesbians feel proud that they shouldn´t have to fit into a certain mold in order to personify their lesbian identity. As they say let your freak flag fly and be true to yourself regardless of what you want that to look like.
Bursting out of the closet
One of the many beautiful manifestations of the ripple effect set into motion by holidays like International Lesbian Visibility Day is the hope that more women will feel more confident accepting this part of their identity and not hiding it from the people in their lives.
Concealing who you are signifies a heavy psychological weight often blurring part of your exuberance. The possibility of rejection, fear of what other people will think, and the personal or professional repercussions you may have to face result in you rejecting yourself.
At the end of the day, gaining more visibility for the experience of the community will make having a ¨normal¨ reaction to this part of your identity the only acceptable reaction upon telling your loved ones. Love is love and everyone has the same right to have it in their lives no matter what.
And if you don´t want to take our word for it as to why International Lesbian Visibility Day is so important, take a look at this video from El País show a dynamic group of women discussing the holiday and other aspects of their lesbian experience. (Video in Spanish)