Lesbian Visibility Week is entering its fourth year and it remains just as important for our community as it was when I founded it in 2019.
This is a time to celebrate all of our progress, but also to remember how far we have to come to truly achieve visibility.
When lesbian erasure continues to be a force that damages our ability to express ourselves and live full, authentic lives, celebrating and uplifting our community is essential.
Our community is getting stronger and bigger and Lesbian Visibility Week exists to show just that.
The DIVA Awards and the DIVA Power List are testaments to the talent, success and strength of lesbians today. Just 10 years ago, we would have struggled to find 100 out and proud LGBTQIA+ women and non-binary people to fill this list; now in 2023 we struggle to fit people in. Our 4th DIVA Awards will be hosted by the iconic Sophie Ward, one of the first-ever actors to come out as a lesbian, and will focus on remarkable and unsung achievements.
This is also a time to acknowledge the full diversity and range of people who identify under the label lesbian. In the face of continued bigotry, ignorance and outright transphobia from the media and government, it is vital that we continue to use our voice to oppose this. At DIVA Magazine we are loudly inclusive of trans and non-binary people, proudly winning the Trans Inclusive Organisation award at last year’s Trans In The City Gala.
Not only do I wish to support and empower non-binary and trans lesbians, but strongly believe in the strength of the lesbian community to foster change for our siblings who identify as GBTQIA+. This remains particularly important when a minority of lesbians threaten to undermine the majority of us who fight for progress and equality. Today and every day, Lesbian Visibility Week and DIVA stand against this narrow-minded intolerance, and proudly believe in #LWithTheT.
This year we have published an extensive survey, in partnership with the ground-breaking LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall and Kantar, the people behind the world’s first inclusion index. This report explores what it is really like being an LGBTQIA+ woman or non-binary person today.
In 2023, we found that 73% of respondents felt they were able to be open with their friends and acquaintances about their identity.
This is a brilliant testament to the growing numbers of our community who stand visible in their gender and sexuality. However, it also tells us we have not yet won our battle. It is still common for celebrities and sportspeople to be forced to remain in the closet by management. We continue to be underrepresented within the film, TV and music industries, with lesbian-centred shows being cancelled by networks frequently.
And starting a family, and getting IVF treatment as a lesbian, continues to have significant practical and financial barriers.
Lesbian Visibility Week wouldn’t be possible without our partners which include, among others, brilliant organisations like Stonewall, Kaleidoscope Trust, Kantar, UK Black Pride, Albert Kennedy Trust, Mermaids, the Peter Tatchell Foundation and Trans In The City. In fact, I am delighted to see that this Lesbian Visibility Week, Stonewall have relaunched its IVF campaign to improve access when so many lesbians face a postcode lottery in attempting to reach treatment; you can take action and contact your local MP through their website now.
Furthermore, I must thank our generous sponsors including Headline Sponsor London Stock Exchange Group and category sponsors BNP Paribas, Centrica, Greene King, mygwork, Deliveroo, EY, NoteWorthy, COREcruitment and CitiBank.
Finally, I want to thank everybody who supports DIVA and Lesbian Visibility Week. From our loyal readers, DIVA Awards nominees and award-winners to our brilliant staff. We are more than just an organisation, we are a family. One that continues to endeavour to forge a better life for lesbians and all LGBTQIA+ women and non-binary people everywhere. This Lesbian Visibility Week, we come one step closer to that reality.