Preface: This is the last section of mostly last chapter of the book I am working on with the overview of lesbian history across the whole of Spain. The more modern stuff is a lot more challenging than the historic stuff because there isn’t the same type of summary of challenges but rather looking at a lot of events, papers and then drawing my own conclusions since I can’t fall back on established research to summarize. Anyway, onwards…
International Lesbian Visibility Day
Día de la Visibilidad lésbica, officially celebrated on 26 April, was first recognized in Spain and the rest of the world in 2008, with Spain leading the way in creating the day and exporting it to other countries around the world. The day was created specifically with the intention of making lesbianism and their activism more visible inside the LGTBIQ+ community and in broader society. The year it was created was also the year that FELGT made lesbian visibility the national theme for Orgullo celebrations. The day has traditionally called on lesbians to proactively make themselves more visible so they can be a positive social reference in society as part of broader efforts to eliminate homophobia.
With Lesbian Visibility Day being founded in Spain in 2008, the day held special meaning for LGTB organizations in the country who began to celebrate the day with marches, the publishing of manifestos and organizing events in conjunction with local governments during the Rajoy era. Most of these activities were transwomen inclusive in nature, with those that were not making an explicit point to say that including transwomen in the definition was homophobic.
On the International Day of Lesbian Visibility on 28 April 2012, the major concern for lesbians across Spain was the ability for lesbians to come out of the closet and not be discriminated against. This was covered by Ceutaldia, an on-line newspaper serving the city. While events were planned around the country in honor of the day, none were organized in Ceuta.
FELFTB encouraged lesbians to share their stories on 26 April 2015 in honor of Lesbian Visibility Day using the hashtage #soylesbiana on Twitter. Arcópoli and Fuenla Entiende organized the reading of an act titled, “Dando la vuelta a la tortilla” on 26 April 2015 in honor of Lesbian Visibility Day that started at 18:30 in Puerta del Sol.
The women of Colectivo Lambda in Valencia met at Puente de las Flores to make lesbians visible on 26 April 2015 in honor of Lesbian Visibility Day. This was followed up by a debate at the collective’s headwards later that evening.
LesBiCat is a group of women, including transwomen, who are lesbians, bisexuals or pansexuals in Catalonia who work from a feminist perspective towards social transformation and increased visibility. Most of their activity is based in Barcelona. The group, created around 2011, branched off from Coordinadora LGTB de Catalunya, an organization that dissolved in 2013. They have organized events for the International Lesbian Visibility Day in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. They have also organized events for International Bisexual Day in 2015.
The Los Palomos de Badajoz fiesta against discrimination based on sexual orientation was in its fifth edition in 2015 and attended by 20,000 people. It was the first edition held after the region based anti-discrimination legislation based on sexual orientation or gender identification. The event was organized by Fundación Triángulo. A manifesto was read out for the event condemning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and praising the process of finally getting the regional law passed. Because the event coincided with International Lesbian Visibility Day, additional references to lesbians were made, including highlighting the double discrimination faced by lesbians and calling on the national government to reverse the decision not to support reproductive assistance to lesbians in public health because lesbians should have the ability to go anywhere in the country they want to become mothers.
WADO LGTBI de Castilla-La Mancha held a concetración on 26 April 2016 in honor of International Lesbian Visibility Day. The protest took place at Plaza de Santo Domingo. The group also organized a party at Rock n’ Football in honor of the day on 30 April 2016.
The town of Casar de Cáceres hosted a jornada on 16 and 17 April 2016 in honor of the International Day of Lesbian Visibility. The event was supported by Instituto de la Mujer de Extremadura and Extremadura Entiende.
In honor of Lesbian Visibility Day on 26 April 2017, DiverSAH published a statement that said in part, “Let’s banish transphobia from our spaces, let’s stop using the common discourse “I’m a lesbian because I like pussies” and let’s include all lesbian women in this claim, regardless of our genitality”.
In 2017, at the request of Extremadura Entiende, Consejo de la Mujer de Extremadura starts institutionally celebrating International Lesbian Visibility Day in the region. WADO organized a concentración on 26 April 2017 in honor of Lesbian Visibility Day. This included a reading of a manifesto at Plaza de Santo Domingo. At the last minute, they added a bit about investigating and looking for a solution for the LGBTI community in Chechnya, where most of the violence and persecution involved gay men. They had a follow up party on 29 April 2017 at Arcadia Bar.
Marta Fernández Herráiz and Kika Fumero participated in a session focused on homosexual women hosted by the European Parliament in honor of Lesbian Visibility Day on 26 April 2018. This was the first time such a session had been hosted by the European Parliament. Data from 2018 said that across the European Union, 44% of lesbians self-reported being discriminated against at work because of their sexual orientation, with a further 25% saying the discrimination impacted their assessment or salary.
On 26 April 2018, demonstrations were held in Barcelona, Madrid and Pamplona that coincided with Lesbian Visibility Day to protest a judge giving the five Sevilla members of the wolf rape pack a sentence of nine years in prison for sexual abuse instead of the twenty-two years they could have been given and because the men were not found guilty of rape but the lesser offense of sexual abuse.
In honor of Día de la Visibilidad Lésbica, the Instituto de la Mujer de Castilla-La Mancha released a guide in 2018. The guide featured the words gay, bisexual and trans on the cover. Around only a third of the content in the guide was explicitly about lesbians, with most of the rest being about transwomen, queer people in general, and other members of the rainbow. There was no content specific to the region of Castilla – La Mancha outside one unofficial link at the end of the document.
The Junta de Extremadura’s Instituto de la Mujer (IMEX) had competency regarding the double discrimination of lesbians and bisexual women because of their sexual orientation and gender. In 2018, their complimentary activities including celebrating the Jornadas de Visibildad Lésbica in Navalmoral de la Mata on 21 and 22 April. The lesbian visibility event was transwomen inclusive. The event also wanted to give rural populations an idea about the reality of life for lesbians, bisexual women and transwomen to improve their acceptance in private and public spaces. The event was organized by Extremadura Entiende and finances by the Consejería de Cultura e Igualdad with a budget of €2660.35.
The Instituto de la Mujer (IMEX) in Extremadura celebrated International Lesbian Visibility Day in 2018 on 26 April with participation by the Consejo Extremeño de Participación de las Mujeres in an event organized by Extremadura Entiende. IMEX viewed supporting the day as no different than support 8 de Marzo events or 25 de Noviembre events. The region was the first to celebrate the day via an acto.
An event was held in honor of Lesbian Visibility Day on 26 April 2019, with a reading of a manifesto by La Rioja Entiende at Plaza del Mercado. Prior to that, there was a presentation or poetry by Eva Gallud at Casa del Libro on Calle Doctores Castroviejo, 19 and an exhibition of feminist women and lesbians at Plaza del Mercado.
Sitges celebrated Lesbian Visibility Day on 26 April 2020 by celebrating international lesbian and women writers Cheryl Clarke, Adrienne Rich, Monique Wittig.
The Consejo de la Juventud de la Ciudad Autónoma de Ceuta celebrated Sappho on 26 April 2020, the International Day of Lesbian Visibility.
FELGTB celebrated Lesbian Visibility Day on 26 April 2020 by honoring women who could not be visible and who had to go about doing their jobs despite the state of alarm as a result of the pandemic. They included health workers, women in the food sector, cleaners and security officers for the state who had to be closeted as they feared harassment or losing their job. One case they highlighted was that of 24-year-old Muslim Sukaina who lived a double life with her family because of an inability to leave the closet with them.
FELGTB held a virtual press conference on 22 April 2021 ahead of Lesbian Visibility Day to draw attention to the theme of the year, Feminisms, Equality and Rights Humans. The press conference was led by coordinator of Lesbian Policies of FELGTB Cristina Pérez.
In honor of Lesbian Visibility day on 26 April 2021, UGT Madrid published a press release denouncing Spanish society for its patriarchal studies that erase lesbian women. Among other things, they said that even naming themselves as lesbians can lead to women suffering prejudice, social exclusion, physical and verbal attacks, and people telling women that they just haven’t met the right man. Unlike FELGTB who expressly included transwomen as lesbians, UGT denounced the inclusion transwomen as lesbians and highlighted how lesbians were being abused and being called transphobic for their interest. They specifically said, “name of diversity. This liberal discourse does not differ from the previously exposed prejudice, “they have not known the right man”, both attacks are only intended for lesbian women to question themselves for loving only women.” This discourse from a Spanish union was one of the only left wing critiques of that nature.
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