Lesbian Day of Visibility … Lesbian & Bi Women’s Walking Group … Same sex parents … Lesbian Period Drama

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Lesbian Day of Visibility

Held on 26 April every year, Lesbian Day of Visibility showcases women loving women, providing a platform for lesbian role models to speak out on the issues facing female sexual minorities.

The origins of the day remain mysterious, but it has been running since 2008. Having initially started in the US, Lesbian Day of Visibility – thanks to the wonders of the worldwide web – is now celebrated internationally.

Aderonke Apata, human rights activist and founder of African Rainbow Family

Aderonke Apata said: “Lesbian Visibility Day means a lot to me. I see it as a day when we can celebrate who we are as people who don’t conform to the heteronormative narrative. 

At African Rainbow Family we celebrate Lesbian Visibility Day and continually use it to raise awareness about lesbians of colour, as well as for demanding a fair and humane asylum system for lesbians.

It is important that we are visible as lesbians in order to avoid our erasure. There are many lesbians around the world that live in fear of freely identifying [as gay]. In 36 Commonwealth countries, same-sex love is illegal.

The more we celebrate Lesbian Visibility Day and continue the conversation, the more we raise awareness about the fact that love is not illegal. We can encourage lesbians in the closet to ‘come out’ and demand their freedom.

This brings me back home to lesbian women that are seeking asylum in the UK and other countries. The treatment of lesbians seeking asylum in the UK by the Home Office is disgraceful and appalling … they don’t believe you can be a lesbian and have children, or have been married previously due to conforming to societal norms.”

Introducing Lesbian and Bi Women’s Walking Group

They are a walking and social group for lesbian and bisexual women. All walks will be offered on a volunteer basis in the North West, so if you have a walk you would like to offer, that would be great.

The walks can be easy or hard, and they will endeavour to cater for all abilities.

They may also offer social events, such as meals out etc, as the group evolves.

Join them to enjoy fun walks and good company.

The world is changing for same-sex parents

Until recently, same-sex couples in New York could only be recognised as equal parents after birth. But Arwa Mahdawi (a columnist for The Guardian) and her partner are the first to benefit from a new law.

‘Because of the pandemic, we had our court hearing virtually, meaning I officially became a mother on Microsoft Teams. Just like I’d always dreamed I would!’ Photograph: Ridofranz / posed by models / Getty / iStockphoto
Arwa Mahdawi (a columnist for The Guardian)

My unborn child doesn’t have a name yet, but she has already had her very first court hearing. On Monday, my partner, E, and I made (minor) history when we became the first couple in New York to be granted a pre-birth parentage order under a new suite of laws protecting same-sex families. Because of the pandemic, we had our court hearing virtually, meaning I officially became a mother on Microsoft Teams. Just like I’d always dreamed I would! You know how babies born on planes sometimes get free plane tickets for life? Well, I think I deserve at least a lifetime subscription to Microsoft Office.

You may be wondering what exactly a pre-birth parentage order is. The situation is this: E is giving birth in a few weeks to a baby we planned to have. After long discussions along the lines of “your womb or mine?”, we decided she would be the one to carry. We picked out a sperm donor together. We paid for the (very expensive) sperm and multiple rounds of artificial insemination together. We went to doctors’ appointments together. We brainstormed names – and have so far failed to decide on one – together. The baby may not be genetically mine but, in our hearts and minds, we are equal parents to She Who Has Yet to Be Named. In the eyes of the law, however, it’s more complicated. We can both be listed as parents on the birth certificate but, as the non-gestational mum, my rights aren’t 100% clear.

Until very recently, lesbian parents in New York had to go through a second parent adoption in order to secure more legal recognition for the non-birth mother. That’s a gruelling process: it can take a year and cost thousands in legal fees. It’s also incredibly invasive: you have to list everywhere you’ve lived in the past 28 years, provide fingerprints for a background check, have a home visit from a social worker and more. You also can’t start the adoption process until the baby is born, meaning you can be stuck in legal limbo if a medical emergency happens during childbirth. Extremely luckily for us, however, a new law came into effect in February 2021 streamlining this process. All you need to do now is get several documents notarised and appear before a judge; you can do all this before the baby is born – although it took about 57 phone calls to different people in the court system until we established this to be the case.

New York isn’t the only place to have recently brought its family law into the 21st century. Last month two women from Cork became the first same-sex couple in Ireland to be legally recognised as parents on their children’s birth certificates. Alas, not everyone has it so easy. The EU court of justice is deliberating over the case of a child born to Bulgarian and British lesbian mothers in Spain: the baby is at risk of being stateless because same-sex relationships are not legally recognised in Bulgaria and the child isn’t able to obtain British citizenship from the other mother. A Namibian court is also refusing to issue a gay man with emergency travel documents so that he can bring his daughters, born by surrogate in South Africa, back home. The hearing in which I was permitted parentage of my unborn kid lasted under 10 minutes, but was a very long time in the making. When I first came out, almost 20 years ago, the Netherlands was the only place in the world where same-sex marriage was legal. Now, I’m able to marry the person I love in our respective home countries of the UK and US – and have our child legally recognised as belonging to both of us. I don’t take any of that for granted. Love may make a family, but legal recognition makes having a family a hell of a lot easier.

Lesbian Period Drama parody is hilariously accurate

The latest skit from Saturday Night Live is a “film that isn’t afraid to ask: will these lesbians be lesbians together?”

What is it about lesbian period pieces that Hollywood loves so much? Is it the corsets, the forbidden yearning, the inevitable unhappy endings? Whatever it is, Saturday Night Live’s latest skit “Lesbian Period Drama” perfectly encapsulates the stereotypes of the subgenre. Starring Kate McKinnon, Carey Mulligan, and Heidi Gardener, the 3-minute clip accurately parodies the likes of Portrait of a Lady on Fire and Ammonite, in a manner that’s bound to make you burst out laughing.

The sketch aired on Saturday Night Live was hosted by Carey Mulligan, who stars in the piece as one of “two straight actresses who dare not to wear makeup”.

At the beginning of the teaser, Mulligan is brought to a doctor by her husband with his reason being that “She’s a bummer”. It is here where she is introduced to Heidi Gardener’s character, her “female companion” for prescribed grey-aired “long rocky walks”.

“Lesbian Period Drama” continues with the narrator describing it as, “another film that isn’t afraid to ask: will these lesbians be lesbians together?”, boasting “twelve lines of dialogue” within its “two and a half-hour run time”.

The piece also features “Academy award-winning glance choreography” and “Best supporting actress nominee: The Wind” – two tropes that viewers are all too familiar with. But this teaser would not be complete without the appearance of the “stone-cold ex” played by Kate McKinnon, a real-life lesbian. Who would have thought it possible?

Decorated with sad flirting, finger grazing, and portrait drawing, perhaps the most accurate feature of all is the “sex scene so graphic you’ll think, ‘Oh right, a man directed this’.” Despite having seen different versions of the same film many times before, there is no doubt that lesbians worldwide would still be queueing up to view and support this spectacle. While “Lesbian Period Drama” should be enjoyed as a comedy sketch, it also highlights the need for a more diverse range of plots, stories, and cast members within LGBT+ cinema.

This subgenre is often dominated by white straight actresses, and can still be influenced by the male gaze. Although many of the examples that we have today are loved and appreciated within the community, there is still room for improvements, and the Saturday Night Live skit highlights that in an engaging and hilarious way.

(Thanks to Gay Community News, Ireland for permission to reprint this article)

One thought on “Lesbian Day of Visibility … Lesbian & Bi Women’s Walking Group … Same sex parents … Lesbian Period Drama

  1. Thanks for this article and I’m proud to be in this group of Family
    Africa Rainbow family has helped and it’s still helping lots of women to stand on their sexuality and be proud of their sexuality.

    Like

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