What Is Lesbian Visibility Week? All You Need To Know About Celebrating This Week and Lesbian Visibility Day

When you hear the word “lesbian,” the most obvious, first thing you might think about are famous lesbians. "Celesbians" if you will. For example, there’s Ellen DeGeneres, Rosie O’Donnell, Hayley Kiyoko, Megan Rapinoe and now Reneé Rapp. And outside of just modern lesbians, there’s also Black poet Audre Lorde, English writer Virginia Woolf and (possibly even) poet Emily Dickinson. You might even think of fictional lesbians, like Scooby-Doo’s Velma or Willow and Tara from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

But some thoughts might not be so positive, since there are also harmful stereotypes and a lot of oppression that lesbians face. There is still stigma for some around the word “lesbian” and young adults who identify as lesbian were “the most likely of all LGBTQ+ identities to say they were ashamed of being part of the community.” PinkNews reported that a study by Just Like Us, a UK-based LGBTQ+ charity, found 79 percent of the lesbians surveyed felt this way, with 78 percent of trans youth and 76 percent of non-binary youth behind them. 

Even though lesbian representation on TV is on the rise—2022 was the first time that lesbians made up the majority of queer characters on cable television in more than 15 years—lesbians can still feel hidden and unappreciated. While Pride Month is a great time to celebrate and uplift the queer people in our lives, Lesbian Visibility Week is specifically for lesbians. Here’s what that week celebrates and how you can honor those special sapphics in your life.

Related: 50 LGBTQ Trivia Questions and Answers to Honor LGBTQIA+ Communities During National Coming Out Day and Beyond

What is Lesbian Visibility Week?

Lesbian Visibility Week is a week at the end of April that is meant as a time for lesbians to be seen, heard and celebrated. Just like any other week to commemorate different groups in the LGBTQ+ community, Lesbian Visibility Week is a great time to reflect on how lesbians are treated within the LGBTQ+ community and in everyday life.

Lesbians exist in a somewhat unique intersection of misogyny and homophobia, because their lives and relationships don’t revolve around men (outside of living in a patriarchal society, of course). This can make their relationships seem less viable or worthy of respect to others. This is perfectly displayed when someone says a variation of, “Well, maybe you just haven’t met the right guy yet” (or something more vulgar), which every lesbian or sapphic person has heard at least once in their lives.

As the official Lesbian Visibility Week site states, the point of this week is to uplift lesbians and “show solidarity with all LGBTQI women and non-binary people in our community.” 

Related: What Does 'Sapphic' Mean? Here’s What the Word Means and How It Relates to ‘WLW’

What is the history of Lesbian Visibility Week?

While it’s widely recognized today, Lesbian Visibility Week disappeared for a bit and didn’t make a mainstream comeback until 2020. Lesbian Visibility Week originally began in Los Angeles in 1990 and was celebrated until 1992. The reasons were still the same; lesbians were tired of being “invisible to straight America” and were annoyed at the attention afforded to gay men and not as much to lesbians.

However, after 1992, the week fell off until International Lesbian Visibility Day came to be in 2008. A whole week still didn’t exist again until 2020. That’s when Linda Riley, the publisher of DIVA Magazine—a major LGBTQ media brand in Europe and the UK—believed that only 24 hours of celebration of lesbians was “simply insufficient” and she needed to change that. This led her to found Lesbian Visibility Week, with the support of several UK and international organizations such as GLAAD, Stonewall, Kaleidoscope Trust, UK Black Pride, Albert Kennedy Trust, LGBT Foundation, Mermaids, the Peter Tatchell Foundation and more.

Riley wrote in a Stonewall blog, “Lesbians need to be given space to be visible and shown to the world on our own terms.” While it’s meant to celebrate lesbians of all kinds, it’s also a time to take a hard look at the struggles people in the community face and highlight ways to fix them.

Related: The 21 LGBTQIA+ Flags (and Their Meanings)

When is Lesbian Visibility Day 2024?

This year, Lesbian Visibility Day is celebrated on Apr 26, 2024, which is the same date every year.

When is Lesbian Visibility Week 2024?

Correlating to Lesbian Day of Visibility, which (again) falls on April 26 yearly, Lesbian Visibility Week is typically the week around this date. This year, the special week is from April 24 to April 28, 2024.

How do you celebrate lesbian visibility?

If you’re in the UK, there are several in-person events and ways to honor lesbians (since its main site is run by a UK-based media group). And if you are lucky enough to live near one of the last lesbian bars in America, they should have some great events or promos going on as well. Looking for sapphic-owned or lesbian-owned businesses or Facebook/community groups is also a great way to see if your community has any in-person events. And many LGBTQ+ accounts or brands might host online events or seminars as well, so just stay tuned to social media.

But the main point of Lesbian Visibility Week is to celebrate and support lesbians in your own lives and communities. This can be by telling them you care, aiding them in some way, and educating yourself on the stigma they might face. There are organizations you can donate to as well, such as PFLAG, The Trevor Project, the ACLU and so much more. Diva Magazine is also making a big push for equality in IVF access for lesbian couples.

Pride Month is right around the corner and is such a fun time for queer people and allies to come together to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. But during Lesbian Visibility Week, make sure to show a little bit of extra appreciation to your favorite lesbians.

Now, go forth and watch these 26 best gay and LGBTQ+ romance movies.