It’s Lesbian Visibility Week–This Is Me Doing My Part


Jasmyne Cannick Lesbian Visibility Week

I know, I know, it’s 2024 and everybody gay (written like I meant it), but it is Lesbian Visibility Day so I thought I would take a few minutes to be visible in that capacity.

First things first. I am a Black woman who is a lesbian in that order.

As a Black lesbian, I exist at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities. I have to navigate a world where in some rooms my skin color overshadows other aspects of my identity and in other rooms it’s my gender or my sexual orientation.

I have never been the one to have to walk around draped in a rainbow or feel the need to announce my sexual orientation and gender identity in every room I enter. For me, there has always been a fine line between being visible and just being annoyingly obnoxious.

Besides, if being a lesbian was predicated on the act of being a lesbian, I would have gotten my membership revoked a long time ago.  Facts.  Likewise, if being queer required actually fighting for the civil rights of the queer community–half the people claiming queer wouldn’t be allowed into the club.  

It’s no secret that I am a co-founder of the National Black Justice Coalition, America’s first Black LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, and I have done the work around racism in the white queer community and discrimination in the Black community–and continue to do so.

I am not hardly in the closet but I never felt the need to be obnoxiously public about being a lesbian.  That’s me.

While being a lesbian is undoubtedly an important part of who I am, it’s just one piece of the complex and multifaceted puzzle that makes up my identity.

To the extent that I care about focusing on the fact that I am a Black lesbian it’s because when we embrace our identity and share our stories, we help younger LGBTQ+ individuals who may be struggling to find their place in this world.  They need to see all of us.  Those who have to announce who they’re attracted to when they walk into the room and remind you on social media 50 11 times, and those of us who may move a bit more strategically, prioritizing our work over hashtags and likes but are out nevertheless. Add to that–all of us aren’t studs or butch either. We need to really break that stereotype.

I can also appreciate older generations of LGBTQ+ who grew up in conservative environments and during a time when being out wasn’t an option.  I get it.  Some of y’all are making up for lost time and living your best life. And at the same time some of y’all just now finished getting dressed 30 years later and are finally ready to step out of the closet and into the world.

All sarcasm aside, I know that by being visible, I add to the voices of millions saying that it’s okay to be yourself, to love who you love, and to pursue your dreams without fear or shame. And that’s what these visibility days are really all about, right?

I said my peace (written like I meant it), and now I am going to carry on with life.


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