An integral part of the queer calendar, Lesbian Visibility Day is celebrated every year on April 26th. Being celebrated since 2008, the aim is to celebrate, recognize, and bring visibility to lesbian-identified members of the LGBTQ community. Well, it’s no secret the lesbian community is marginalized, relatively and lesbians are known to have more mental health issues like eating disorders, anxiety, and depression in comparison to heterosexual women. This is mainly due to all the emotional stress they experienced as teenagers living in a heteronormative society.
It might be even harder for individuals identifying as transgender and lesbians. The lack of representations and growing up possibly around family spaces that might constantly make you question what you feel about yourself make it doubly hard. It is only now that we have some (hardly some, but some) representation and people lesbians can look up to for representations. Today, we have some women that are out and proud in the country.
For you this lesbian visibility day, we have a list of out and proud women in the country that identify as a lesbian:
A professional standup comedian, Vasu Primlani calls herself a green comedian and is India’s only comedian to receive Presidential honours. She is India’s first openly gay comedian and also a well-celebrated environmentalist who was awarded the Nari Shakti Purashkar in 2015. In her standup, she makes it a point to bring up a lot of examples of the various prejudices that threaten confidence and a lot of conversations around people who don’t “fit in” to gender binaries.
The Vice-Chairperson of VIP Industries since 2010, Radhika Piramal graduated from Oxford University and has an MBA from Harvard Business School. In 2011, she is one of the few openly queer Indian corporate leaders and married her partner Amanda in London. While at VIP, since 2010, she has been responsible for improving the company’s rapid growth path. Radhika has also spoken at various avenues about sexuality in corporate spaces.
Born in an Army family in Kolkata, Betu Singh was a lesbian rights activist and played a significant role in setting up the Sangini Trust, an NGO based in Delhi. This NGO was under the umbrella of the Naz Foundation and was set up in 1997 specifically to fight for lesbian rights. Sangini is one of the oldest non-governmental organizations in India to reach out to LBT (Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender) individuals and one of the few registered lesbian organizations in the country. Betu Singh started her career in Delhi as a security guard and soon started her journey fighting for lesbian rights and setting up Sangini Trust. She was responsible for creating safe spaces through affirmative groups to shelter homes for queer women and transmasculine individuals around the city of Delhi
A feminist, lesbian, author, and queer activist, Maya Sharma is currently based out of Gujarat and works with Vikalp Women’s Group, Baroda. This grassroots organization works with tribal women and transgender people. Maya has been passionate about the Indian women’s movement and has co-written “Women’s Labour Rights”, a book on single women’s lives. While working in Delhi resettlement colonies within the women’s movement and studying single women’s issues, she realised that among the single were concealed few of those “women who loved women.” As she begin noticing these relationships, she wrote “Loving Women: Being Lesbian in Unprivileged India,” as she saw the need to write about them and bring them together.
There are few other queer women in the country at the moment who have significantly contributed in their fields in the country like Chris Fernandes, Ritu Dalmia, Pearl Daruwalla, Ankita Mehra, Shruti Chakravarty, Pooja Nair, and few others. Read up about their inspiring lives, their experiences and hardships!