April 26th is the day that was chosen 12 years ago to celebrate and recognize lesbians. So what is Lesbian Visibility Day (also known as LVD), and why does it matter?
With 34 LGBT recognized periods that are listed on Wikipedia, Lesbian Visibility Day doesn't have much information that's documented to understand its inception in 2008. That, of course, hasn't stopped this vital day from bringing lesbians and their supportive community from coming together and continuing the progressive movement that started in the United States, and is now revered internationally.
Small steps forward
This day is a haven for lesbians to feel recognized, safe, and visible in a world that still discriminates against them through inequality, and in some countries with violence. One of the many points of acknowledging this day bring awareness to the stereotypes, judgment, and lack of representation that happens daily.
Lesbians are here; everywhere. This movement exists so they can feel included and accepted and be able to hear the experiences that others had before them, and so they too can remember that they are fighters in the same battle for the right to social justice. Read about 3 inspirational women that paved the way for future LGBTQ generations in our article, Inspirational Women You Should Know About in Honor of Lesbian Visibility Day.
Every year that this day is celebrated is another moment to continue the conversation. It's another moment to inspire closet-lesbians to come out and be their authentic self within a community that empowers and celebrates the beauty within them.
Where the problems start
It's no secret the lesbian community is marginalized. Lesbians are known to have more mental health issues like depression, eating disorders, and anxiety than heterosexual women due to all the emotional stress they experienced as teenagers. It's bad enough going through puberty and experiencing a surge of hormones all at once, and also possibly living in a home that vocally endorses hate speech towards them.
The mental exhaustion and effort that a young teenage woman has to exert to keep her secret a secret, for fear of severe punishment or worse, like exile, can do a number on anyone, especially if they don't have a confidant.
LVD is not only a celebration for lesbians but trans, queer, different races, and nationalities coming together to be inspired by role models in various industries that are fighting for them. The disparaging unfairness keeps many lesbians from the respect and success that is warranted to them despite having the talent and skill that they possess.
Some would argue that there has been an increase in progress for this community. I'd pose this question: would you trade places, knowing that your life would be in danger in any of the 72 countries that commit crimes against this community? Countries like Iraq, who have killing campaigns that are supported by the government? Or Honduras, where people kill with impunity and go mostly unpunished due to discrimination from law enforcement?
If you answered no, then you see the amount of work that is still ahead for this community to prosper.
You can make a difference, too
Not a lesbian? No issue there. You can still show your support and solidarity with the community by acknowledging the obstacles they face. When we have the fearlessness to stand up next to our sisters, we inadvertently help some women start the healing process.