Can You See Me? The Importance of Lesbian Visibility

My name is Geraldine Joosten and I am a lesbian. Who there did I scare you? You must have thought that lesbians were mythical creatures sometimes talked about and never seen.

Recently I have felt more and more invisible in the world. Lesbians these days seem ignored and forgotten about. Where are we these days? Has the world forgotten about us?

Being a journalist and writer I decided to do research into these issues and find out if other lesbians felt the same they did. So much so it was decided that there should be a book on this issue.
Inspired by the amazing lesbian essay books of the 1990’s and the fact that there are many amazing bloggers and writers out there whom all have their own views on the issue, it quickly became clear that the book on Lesbian (in)visibility should be an essay driven project.

It asks the question many lesbians have been asking in the last few years: “WHERE ARE WE?”

Where are we in the media, in TV shows, in the news in LGTB projects, at Gay Prides, on the work floor?

Why are lesbians so invisible? Why are the 2 stereotypes (male sex fantasy or unwanted fat screaming angry dyke) still how we are seen?

How this lack of visibility affects us: Who are the icons out there for us? Does it make it harder for girls to find themselves without many easily accessible role models? Why is there such a disbalance between lesbian and gay visibility on TV, the media and the magazines. Why are gay men more accepted (in TV shows, films, articles in the media. Why do people automatically think of/talk about gay men when the issue of gay rights are brought up? Why do celebrities only link themselves to the male gay rights organisations?) Why do people still think that lesbians can’t have “proper” sex. Why is it still allowed to insult lesbians on TV shows/in the media? Why are bi girls hip and lesbians not.

Have we worked hard enough for our right to be seen? Has feminism helped us or held us back?
What should we do? What do we need?

Several girls from all over the world will write an essay about what this means to them, what they are missing, what do they want to change and how has it affected them. As it is all aspects of lesbian visibility everyone can bring their own take, talk about their own feelingsregarding lesbian visibility. It’s open to many interpretations and they are all valid.

We are still in talks with publishers -but it is certain the book will be out mid next year. We want the book to have a universal feel so it will speak to lesbians from New York to Berlin, from LA to the Netherlands.
We are still looking for more women to be involved in this.

Are you a blogger, writer or simply inspired to join in? Or do you have an opinion you feel should be included? You are welcome to get involved in any way.

Lots of love,


Melissa said...

I am not a lesbian, but I have recently become very interested in learning more about the portrayal of gays and lesbians on film and TV. I didn't know the first thing about the subject but I have taken it upon myself to learn about it, and as I do, I am writing my own blog, just to organize my thoughts about it. The first thing I noticed was indeed the absence of lesbians from the screen. I really hope that your project becomes a reality, it would be a wonderful resource for me. I will be looking out for it!

aphrodite_mine said...

Geraldine, how do we go about contacting you to get involved in this?

Laura Ferreri said...

How do i get involved? Im a blogger and I'm from Venezuela. I think you guys could use someone with some perspective on how lesbians are viewed in Southamerica, and how we have no visibility or importance whatsoever in society.

Laura Ferreri said...

Geraldine i tried reaching you through facebook but I think you didn't get my inbox. My twitter account is private so I couldn't reply. My email is lauravft@gmail.com.

Miss Unsure said...

I am a teenage Lesbain from Wisconsin. I have been having the same feelings. In my high school, there are few LGBTQ students, the majority of which are "bisexual" girls that exploit themselves by making out with other girls at parties. In my town of 8,000 people, we have very few gay adults. The slang and slander I hear walking down the hallway - or even on the street - is disrespectful and offensive. I hope this isn't commonplace in most of the world, but I fear it is. LGBTQ - expecialy lesbains - are downright terrified to come out to parents and friends. I would be honored to help with this book. I have been published before, by Chicken Soup for the Soul. Contact me for more information. chelsea.quijano@gmail.com

Dani said...

I consider myself bi even though I prefer girls (like 90% for girls and just ... 10% for guys). I wanna say that even if im 100 gay i'm against the gay parade. I know we talk about pride here, but I just wanted to say that the whole parade thing is a BS! Seriously! It's like all the straight ppl should go out and the some straight parade, ridiculous man, ridic! Yeah, we should fight for our rights but the parade isn't the way! For me it's like .. you wanna be accepted as equal but you create a parade because you're different. Freakin BS! Be Proud with who you are but dont parade with it!

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sabs said...

hey, we try to push the lesbian lifestyle into public with our fashion - made from lesbians - for lesbians. we started in july 2011 and got great feedback in germany and austria. still working on more - and on our website in english as well! :)
check our new stuff: http://www.njulezz.de/shop/new-arrivals/

we are the first lesbian label in germany and during our research, before we started the label, we haven't found a lot of similar projects. although a lot of fashion for gay men. why? girls, do something!