Our Role Models on Lesbian Day of Visibility
26 April 2019 - When growing up, many queer people report a lack of positive role models to look up to, limited diverse representation in society and silence around the lived experiences and identities of LGBTI+ people.
At Kaleidoscope Trust, we value the opportunity to highlight pioneering role models on Lesbian Day of Visibility. It provides a valuable moment to show queer people around the world that there are and always have been powerful lesbians making a difference in people’s lives. This international Lesbian Day of Visibility, we want to showcase three of our lesbian role models.
Philippa Drew, Trustee at Kaleidoscope Trust, spent her career working in the UK government, leading the way for inclusion and positive change.
Reflecting on the importance of lesbian role models, Philippa said: “Lesbian Visibility Day is important to me because we lesbians have so few visible predecessors from the past from whom to take courage. So, where we can, we need to be visible for today and tomorrow.
Our lesbian visibility challenges homophobia and patriarchy. And, our wisdom and experience as visible lesbians adds strength to the wider women’s equality movement.”
Other lesbians are changing the world through their intersectional approach to feminism and LGBTI+ rights, changing the conversation around gender equality and challenging it to be more inclusive than ever before.
Zeleca Julien, Director of I Am One in Trinidad and Tobago, notes how proud she is to be a lesbian person of colour: “On Lesbian Visibility Day I am especially proud to be a black, lesbian, feminist and to be working for change that affects those most marginalised within the feminist and LGBTI+ communities.”
Lesbians are at the forefront of driving change in their countries and regions, through creative and inspiring platforms such as the upcoming The King Conference and King Show in Trinidad. As Zeleca describes: “For the first time, I Am One will be hosting a week-long extravaganza in The King Conference and The King Show.
It will bring together transgender men and masculine-presenting lesbian, bisexual and queer women to promote advocacy, foster inclusivity, share their stories and learn more about the educational, legal and health issues affecting their lives at an international platform. The show itself is a performance competition for trans men and masculine presenting LBQ women. Here’s to more celebrating, recognising and bringing visibility to lesbians and queer women!” More information on the show is available on I Am One’s website, iamonetnt.org.
Kaleidoscope Trust is proud to be a founding member of The Commonwealth Equality Network (TCEN). TCEN comprises 51 organisations in 46 countries working together to advance LGBTI inclusion across the Commonwealth. In 35 countries, consensual same-sex sexual relations remain criminalised, invariably as a result of discriminatory laws exported by Britain during its colonial past. It is often forgotten 22 specifically criminalise same-sex intimacy between women. TCEN is led by two lesbian women, Rosanna Flamer-Caldera and Steve Letsike, and includes many more queer women within its membership and, crucially, provides an inclusive space to celebrate the diversity of the LGBTI community. .
Steve Letsike is a formidable South African lesbian activist working and serves as Vice-Chair of TCEN and Executive Director of Access Chapter 2. Steve proudly stated: “Lesbian Visibility Day is important because we exist and we matter. Lesbians represent powerful women in all different diversities. The most important thing is that we matter!”
At Kaleidoscope Trust, we believe it is vital to celebrate the many different and diverse identities within the wider LGBTI+ community, and days like the international Lesbian Day of Visibility show why being visibly queer can make a huge impact on people's lives. Philippa, Zeleca and Steve are just some of the inspiring people creating positive change. Our thanks to them and the many other lesbians we know for being such inspiring role models!