An entire week dedicated to lesbians? Say no more!

Linda Riley, publisher of Diva Magazine

It’s Lesbian Visibility Week! Yes, you heard that right. April 26 usually marks Lesbian Visibility Day, but someone rightfuIly thought that the lesbian community doesn’t have enough space. And that someone is Linda Riley, publisher of UK’s Diva Magazine and former Board Member of GLAAD. She’s the brilliant mind behind the project of Lesbian Visibility Week, a whole week full of panels, events, and the Diva Awards. BuzzFeed sat down with Linda, and here’s what she would love for you to know.

Linda Riley / Via Fascinate Media

1.“What we can expect is the word lesbian to be heard again, and heard in a positive manner.”

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“It’s almost like we need a Lesbian Visibility Week because we need the space to be heard. Quite frankly. Although the letter L comes first in the acronym LGBTQI, it’s not something that’s very visible. We’ve had Lesbian Visibility Day for about 12 years, and our voices are just not heard enough. So yeah, we need it, and we need that space.

“There’s lots going on. We’re trying to get the word out more globally. We’ve got some global panels coming in. We have GLAAD in USA partner in us. So the more people get on board with this, the better and the bigger we become.”

2.Diva Magazine is more than just a magazine.

3.Linda identifies as butch, but it’s not all about labels.

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“What I want people to understand first and foremost is that people should not be given labels, but they should be allowed to express their own labels. So when I give out my label, I want to be proud of it, and I want to own it.

“One thing that somebody did say to me, I was going to do an article a few years ago on butch lesbians, and it really resonated with me. They said, ‘Butch lesbians are a dying breed.’ And that upset me because I was like, it shouldn’t be a dying breed; it should be a breed that grows on its own and it goes naturally, but yet doesn’t condemn any other form of labels.”

4.And the same goes for femme lesbians, BTW.

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“I think it’s changed in the views of LGBTQI women, maybe not so much in the mainstream. If you’re femme lesbian, you only go out with a butch lesbian, all this stuff. It’s really nonsense because basically, we love who we love, you know, and that’s really what we’re promoting about Lesbian Visibility. And really, more importantly than anything, it’s basically accepting other people for who they are and what they want to be.”

5.A community should be inclusive: We all suffered enough.


“When you’ve been oppressed, I mean, I’ve been a lesbian for many, many years and suffered much oppression. Times are much better now in the mainstream, but when you’ve suffered this much oppression and judgment, you certainly shouldn’t be giving it yourself against your own community. You know, that’s my view anyway.”

6.She faced backlash from TERFs when she became Diva’s publisher.

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“Well, if I could find a solution just like that, I’d be a very fortunate person because there’s nothing I want more than a solution. But what one of the things I set out to do at Diva, I said, this is now the magazine for these LGBTQI women and non-binary people because I want you to really open the communication. And there were lots of trans exclusionary lesbians that were upset with me. If I had a pound or $1 for everyone that said to me that I chucked lesbians under the bus, I’d be, like, a millionaire.”

7.The lesbian community is so much more than trans exclusionary radical feminists make it out to be.

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“TERFs are a small minority. For example, the other day I tweeted something about Lesbian Visibility, and I had a big attack from trans exclusionary, which I don’t get into. But what I want to say is that when you go down that thread of people talking to me, they are anonymous troll accounts, you know, and like, there’s a kind of a set up to make them sound like they’re more than there are. And one of the things about Lesbian Visibility Week is to get rid of this.”

8.Sometimes, there are a lot of misunderstandings between communities.

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“It was getting to a point where when I met people from the trans community, and I introduced myself as a lesbian, they were looking at me suspiciously, thinking that I might be one of the transphobic brigade, and I began to realize that cis-lesbians in particular were getting stigmatized as being maybe transphobic when absolutely the majority is not.

“So, I wanted to showcase that although there are points that I agree with that lesbians need more visibility, it doesn’t mean that we are somehow transphobic. And that’s the message that we’re really getting out through Lesbian Visibility. You know, the joy of celebrating with the whole community is wonderful.”

9.We need more global work for the community.

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“What I would ideally like to see is a global organization where we are all kind of one love and working together. Everybody’s got different organizations. We sometimes sit back on our rights where we are, and don’t look further enough from what’s going on in other countries. So I’d like to see more of that. Ideally, there should be one sort of umbrella organization that we can all work from, even though we all have different laws to fight.”

10.To any lesbian who struggles, Linda says: “You’re not alone.”

It Gets Better Project / Via

“My advice would be you’re not alone. As somebody who’s been out over 40 years as a lesbian, when I first came out, I did feel alone. There was no internet, and it was very, very isolating. I was homeless at 15; it was tough, and now I’m the publisher of Diva. I wouldn’t have thought all those years ago that life could actually be good.

“What I would actually say is, it may feel tough at the moment; it may be a struggle, but be strong, and things will definitely get better. Sometimes, when you’re in that hole, you can’t see past that, but hopefully, if you hear somebody like me talking, I can say I was in that hole, and there is a way out.”