Lesbian Visibility Week 2023
In the UK since 2008, organisation have been promoting Lesbian Visibility Day found by Linda Riley CEO and publisher of Diva Magazine.
This year Metanoia Institute recognising Lesbian Visibility Week, which runs from Monday 25th April to Sunday 30th April.
Riley explains in article written article written for Stonewall, that, “Since 2008, lesbians like me have been embracing the day of 26th April – Lesbian Visibility Day. It’s 24 hours where our community comes together to celebrate and commemorate the achievements of a group of people which has for so long been marginalised.
This year has been particularly challenging for some lesbian academic colleagues across the sector. It is therefore more important than ever that we understand the unique experience of both lesbian colleagues, members and students.
Throughout this week we will be sharing some brief visibility messages from some of our own colleagues at the Metanoia Institute.
Dr Di Hodgson’s (Director of Studies MSc Gestalt Psychotherapy) particular visibility “claim to fame” is that she was one of the first women in the country to be civil partnered on the very first legal day at 11.30am on 21 December 2005. She was also once featured in an article in the above mentioned Diva magazine. And she was a regular marcher at Pride when it was focussed on demanding these changes and recognition, when it was a much more feisty and at times unpleasant rather than celebratory experience.
She invites you to consider why lesbian visibility matters. She would say it matters because historically and currently lesbians experience a particular kind of invisibility. It matters because some of your clients who identify as lesbian will have trauma, losses and in some cases many years of experiences of discrimination.
Here’s one example which has particular relevance to the 2005 date. Until then lesbians had no next of kin rights. Picture the scene….your partner is in hospital awaiting a general anaesthetic. They are on a ward with 8 beds. Every patient has someone with them. The doctor comes over and asks you to leave. No one else is leaving. You ask why. They say because only next of kin can stay. You know this is not policy or correct. You also doubt that the patients with partners of the opposite sex have either been asked about, or challenged to prove the status of their relationship if they were asked. You refuse to leave and suggest they might need to get security to physically remove you. Fortunately they don’t. They do later on say that your partner cannot go home because you are not their next of kin. This is not fiction.
Lucy Watt Tutor BSc Humanistic Counselling
Lucy Watt (primary tutor on the Humanistic Counselling BSc) was an intern at the Pink Paper (a free LGBT newspaper that is no longer exists) and at Stonewall, the LGBT campaigns group, when she first moved to London after university in 1999/2000. She was then employed by Stonewall as a campaigns assistant on the scrap Section 28 campaign, and had to carry a big orange banner saying "promote tolerance" from their offices in Victoria to stand outside the Houses of Parliament for three weeks, to lobby parliamentarians. She was later elected as deputy leader of Islington Council (Lib Dem) in 2006; where her council leader, James Kempton, and fellow deputy leader, Terry Stacy, were also gay. After standing down, she got invited to a 10 Downing Street reception for influential members of the LGBT Community in 2011 by David Cameron.
Lucy is a Pink Therapy accredited trainer, and has worked within Metanoia to establish a presence for the institute at the annual London Pride march, and she researched and wrote this piece about the founders of Metanoia: https://www.metanoia.ac.uk/prospective-students/equality-and-diversity/equality-and-diversity-events/lgbtqplus-article/
"The 1980s was the turning point for Sally. The rise of feminism in London raised awareness of the LGBT+ movement to levels never seen in the previous decades. It was then, while studying for her Masters that Sally, first became aware of who she truly was and identified as a lesbian.
From that moment, Sally’s career blossomed, working her way up to being a senior lecturer, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean.
To Sally, being part of the community was natural. Yet, while she has witnessed people making homophobic comments about others during her career, she felt lucky that nothing was aimed at her. “I’ve been very privileged,” Sally said. “I am a white, middle class woman, worked my way up the ladder and have a successful career in the NHS and in education.”
“In fact, the discrimination I faced was around being a woman in leadership. I was once advised to lower my voice as some deemed it to be too high pitched.”
Sally always makes herself available for staff who feel they’ve been discriminated against. She also realises that not everyone is receptive towards those from the LGBT+ community. Her advice to those in that position, “It’s important to be sensitive towards other people’s views. We all have different experiences. If you look after those who don’t agree with you being LGBT+, do what you can to help or find other ways for them to be cared for if they cannot see beyond who you are.”"
The above text for Sally Glen was published in 2020, and is abridged from the NHS. https://www.westlondon.nhs.uk/news/latest-news/national-coming-out-day-sally-glens-story
Some Additional Links/Resources:
Metanoia Institute is committed to the development of a fair and inclusive community. We stand against prejudice, discrimination and all forms of stereotyping. As an Institution, we seek to recognise, value, promote and celebrate diversity. We understand that equality and equity can be different concepts. We accept the moral responsibility to be an inclusive, just, community.
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- 24 April 2023 - 30 April 2023