Tag Archives: Lesbian Visibility

Here’s Why Lesbian Visibility Day Is So Important To Our Community

Being a queer woman – that is, a woman who identifies herself as lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, queer, or anything other than heterosexual and is attracted to other women – isn’t always easy.

Finding positive portrayals of queer women in media isn’t easy either. So it’s important that together we keep our representation strong.

Today is lesbian visibility day – a day which started in the US almost 10 years ago. It is a day to celebrate lesbian life and culture and all our diversity.

Company Focused on Increasing Lesbian Visibility Announced as a Lloyds Bank National Business Award Finalist

Today, Kitsch Media Group – the company behind the exciting online LGBTQ publication for women, Kitsch Mix – has been shortlisted for the The Duke of York New Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the 2015 Lloyds Bank National Business Awards.

Based in London, Kitsch Media Group is now a leading media company for females particularly within the LGBTQ community. Their emphasis is on delivering high-quality and original online products focused on diversity and inclusion.


The focal point of their creative initiative is publishing an online magazine and TV channel; with ambitions of future growth include expanding their digital portfolio of products.

Going up against other finalists, Kitsch Media Group will compete for the prestigious award, with the winner being revealed at the Lloyds Bank National Business Awards Gala Dinner held on 10 November at Park Lane’s Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

Co-founder and CEO, Elizabeth Eagle-Simbeye says she is “delighted” to have been shortlisted for this accolade.

For Kitsch Media Group, and myself, it is a great honour to be shortlisted for The Duke of York New Entrepreneur of the Year award. The recognition of our hard work, ideas, and business goals is extremely important to us, and the community that we represent.

As a business created by culturally diverse women, our aim is to support and empower other women, especially in the LGBTQ community; who (up until now) have been poorly represented in the media, and who often go unrecognised, unseen; and their stories untold.

So, such recognition shows how far we have travelled in acceptance and understanding. It also proves that what we are doing is valued, not only by our ever-growing audience, but by other business minds alike.”


An all encompassing range of industries are represented in the shortlists for this year’s awards, with companies from recruitment and children’s clothing, to pet food and online marketing being selected for the chance to win a coveted Lloyds Bank National Business Award. The scale of the finalists is just as varied, with companies turning over less than a million pounds to over £25 million, employing 20 people or over 70,000 people.

Tom Broughton, Programme Director of the National Business Awards said:

The quality and range of this year’s entries exceed even those of last year, which is no mean feat. The draw of being involved with the Lloyds Bank National Business Awards has seen companies from all kinds of industries submit applications, which have been narrowed down using our thorough and comprehensive scoring system. We are now looking forward to the next step in the judging process and meeting some of the finalists face-to-face.”

Finalists were chosen from the hundreds of businesses that entered or were nominated across 18 award categories. They will now prepare for live presentations to expert judges who will decide the overall winners that will be revealed at the awards ceremony on 10 November.

Visit www.nationalbusinessawards.co.uk for a full list of all finalists or for details on how to attend the event.

Lesbian Visibility is Getting Better, 10 Must Watch LGBT Ad Campaigns That Melt the Heart (Videos)

We have come a long way when it comes to lesbian in the media visibility. Ads today are both inclusive and respectful, and often boldly targeting the LGBT community directly.

But what is so great about these new adverts, is they are empowering and honest. And as we all know empowering and honest ads don’t always come our way, specially when it comes to women and representing the LGBT community.

1. Anouk Ethnic

Created by clothing company Anouk Ethnic, the advert depicts a couple getting ready for a visit from one of the women’s parents, who will be meeting her girlfriend for the first time. This is a first for India – where same-sex relationships are illegal.

2. Cornetto

Game, set and it’s a match made in heaven when a young girl finds herself as an accidental target for love. Her relationship with a tennis pro doesn’t start off well but will our Cupid, Lily Allen help to bring them together?

3. O Boticário

O Boticário commercial made a big impact in Brazil, causing both negative and positive commentary on social media channels because it should same-sex couples.

4. Wells Fargo

The US bank is promoting and embracing of diversity with a series of new adverts – one of which features a lesbian couple who are learning sign language for a very special reason.


5. Marriott

As part of Marriott International’s #LoveTravels campaign, LGBT couples share their genuine love for one another that they feel translates into a language people can understand, no matter their beliefs.

6. Micorsoft

Software giant Microsoft released a television advert for their Outlook.com campaign which included a scene of two women getting married.


7. Matalan

Matalan launched a major new advertising campaign in the UK, aimed at showing the range of different households in Britain today.

8. Hallmark

Hallmark’s commercial featured a real-life lesbian couple talking about all the things they love about each other, and it’s perhaps the cutest thing ever.



9. Target

Target aired a commercial called, “Baby Digs: The Magic of Space,” which featured a married lesbian couple Amanda Deibert and Cat Staggs.


10. Natwest

The advert (which is for the bank’s ‘Cashback Plus’ service) doesn’t make a big song and dance out of the fact that the couple are lesbians (which is what usually happens), the point the ad is making is that we are all different, and that’s okay



When It Pays To Be A Lesbian At The Oscars

Crazy as it seems, but historically a heterosexual, cisgender, actress playing a lesbian or bi women in compelling biopic had the potential to get her into the field of Oscar nominees. That’s not us devaluing the films or acting though, just merely an observation. So, seeing the Oscars are now done and dusted, we took a chance to look back at Oscar’s historic lesbian / bi movies.

Monster – Charlize Theron


Monster is an epic drama about serial killer Aileen Wuornos, a former prostitute who was executed in 2002 for killing six men. Wuornos was played by Charlize Theron, and her lesbian lover, Selby Wall, was played by Christina Ricci.

Theron won many awards for her portrayal, including the Academy Award for Best Actress.

The Hours – Nicole Kidman


The film is about how the book Mrs. Dalloway affects three generations of women, all of whom, in one way or another, have had to deal with suicide in their lives. The film starred Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, and Julianne Moore, with Kidman playing Virginia Woolf, who although married, had a sexual relationship with acclaimed writer Vita Sackville-West.

The Hours received nine Academy Award nominations including best picture, and Nicole Kidman won an Oscar for Best Actress.

Boys Don’t Cry – Hilary Swank


Boys Don’t Cry is the dramatization Brandon Teena life, a transgender man played by Hilary Swank, who pursues a relationship with a young woman, played by Chloë Sevigny. Directed by Kimberly Peirce and co-written by Andy Bienen, the picture explored the themes of freedom, courage, identity and empowerment. Both Hilary Swank and Chloë Sevigny went on to be nominated for Oscars, with Hilary winning her first Best Actress Oscar for the role.

Vicky Christina Barcelona – Penélope Cruz


Penélope Cruz gained a Best Supporting Actress award for her turn in Woody Allen’s Vicky Christina Barcelona in 2008. In the movie, Cruz’s character enters a polyamorous relationship with Scarlett Johansson and Javier Bardem.

Mulholland Drive – David Lynch


Mulholland Drive is a psychological thriller written and directed by David Lynch, and stars Naomi Watts and Laura Elena Harring. The surrealist film was highly acclaimed by many critics and earned Lynch the Prix de la mise en scène (Best Director Award) at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival as well as an Oscar nomination for Best Director.

Why we mention this movie, well Mulholland Drive launched the careers of Watts (who went on to be nominated twice for oscars) and Harring.

See it pays to play gay…

Fall TV Makes Progress With Lesbian Characters – But There’s Still a Long Way to Go

On the path of gay rights and acceptance, the way that the media portrays the lives of gay is massively important. No, not just in the way they talk of Bill and David’s whirlwind marriage following the repeal of DOMA or Kathy and Sue’s adoption of a child following a court ruling but in the fictional stories too.

For those who don’t know any gay people, televisions shows and movies can help normalise the non-heterosexual relationships that really exist. It eliminates the idea of the rainbow wearing bogeyman (or woman) hiding (both literally and figuratively) in a closet.

But getting to a point where the media is fair with its portrayal isn’t always easy. We’re moving forward but playing the turtle’s game against a heteronormative hare doesn’t help conjure favourable opinion towards gay people in the short term.

As noted by GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis,

“Television networks are playing a key role in promoting cultural understanding of LGBT lives around the world, and are now producing some of the best LGBT-inclusive programming we’ve yet seen.”

Thankfully, the latest GLAAD ‘Where We Are On TV’ report for the 2014 to 2015 season (including shows scheduled to air in the Summer of 2015) show a swathe of new lesbian faces for queer women to identify with.

These include Renee Montoya on Gotham, Renee’s love interest Barbara Kean and the lesbian doctor responsible for the main mix-up at the centre of Jane the Virgin’s story. When we add all of the newcomers to those that already existed we have 74 queer women (bisexual and lesbian) of all races depicted across cable and broadcast networks.

However, although the numbers are strong (if you can call less than 10% of all characters being LGBT ‘strong’, anyway) we are faced with many challenges about representation.

Also according to GLAAD’s statistics, on both cable and broadcast, the figures of queer woman hovered just above 40%, with most queer characters being men. In total this leads to a difference of over two dozen queer men in comparison to the total of queer women. Whilst many could argue that queer representation for all genders is a plus point, a lack of real equality can lead to inherent problems.

Glee in particular comes to mind as although it has a reasonable amount of white, gay males (the show’s creator is also a white, gay male it’s worth nothing) it has gone as far as to ridicule, mock and make fun of female queerness and antagonise the fans of said characters.

Meanwhile, despite Modern Family being very proud of its two gay leads (married male couple Cam and Mitch) when it featured a lesbian couple, they were incredibly stereotypical in their portrayal which is perhaps not offensive but is definitely enough to roll your eyes.

Not only this but the portrayal of queer women on our TV suffer from the same plague of ‘mostly white characters’ that the roster of heterosexual characters do. While it’s difficult to get a break down of queer women only, it doesn’t take a genius to realise that with 117 white LGBT characters out of 170 LGBT characters, there aren’t going to be a whole lot of queer women included.

Hollywood is racist from the ground up – the practice of whitewashing and the stereotypes they promote can tell us that much – but the TV side of the industry needs to embrace and overcome its problematic past.

One the one hand showing queer faces of colour can have a massive impact as it shows people that yes, people of all races can be gay not just the effeminate white man down the street, leading them to be more accepting. While on the other, with people of colour watching more TV than white people it just makes better business sense for Hollywood – y’know, if they aren’t particularly interested in the legacy and the messages that their media leaves behind.

But with this all said, it should be praised that we’re seeing new types of stories, even if we need the demographics to change a little. We have queer parents, we have bisexual women who aren’t just a sweeps week ploy and there are queer people of all sorts of professions and backgrounds too.

Ultimately there’s a long way to go until we can be truly satisfied but we’re slowly and surely getting there, at least.

‘Chicago Fire’ Kills Off Fan Favourite and One of Mainstream TV’s Few Lesbian Characters

Last week, hit NBC drama ‘Chicago Fire’, started its third season off with a major death. The show shocked fans when they killed of Lauren German’s ‘Shay’.


The show’s executive producer, Matt Olmstead has opened up about Shay’s death, stating all characters were on the chopping block, and Shay being lesbian didn’t have any impact on the decision.

“Going into it, we knew if we were going to do it, it had to be someone who was going to give us a big impact, as opposed to going for a lesser-known character, which would equate to a pulled punch.

So, as opposed to approaching it with timidity, we thought we’d go for it… In the writers’ room, we have [photos of] all the actors in character lined up just as a visual reference. We went down, one by one… It’s like a roster of a sports team when you’re having to make a cut.

You’re having to weigh the pros and cons of each one. Some we moved off in two seconds, said that wasn’t going to happen. Others we debated, but we gave everybody a day in court. We came back to Shay because it affected the most people.”

Matt Olmstead, Executive Producer

Many fans were shocked and upset, that the show would kill off a lesbian character.

“There was no agenda either way. All the characters were assessed on equal footing, so there wasn’t any kind of, ‘Let’s not do this for this reason, not do that for that reason.’ As storytellers, you have to be unsentimental sometimes.

Having done it before, when characters have been killed, absolutely, initially, there’s a very strong reaction, especially from the faction that was really into that character.

My policy is really not to go right away and read the comments moments after. You’ve got to let it set a little bit and trust that strong storytelling is going to be strong storytelling.”

Matt Olmstead, Executive Producer

So, what did you think about Shay’s death? How do you think this impacts on Lesbian visibility on mainstream TV?

Two New Lesbian Characters of Color Hitting Mainstream TV

Thats correct, our TV screens are starting to see more lesbian visibility and lesbian characters of Color.

New TNT action drama – ‘The Last Ship’, features out lesbian Lt. Alisha Granderson, played by Christina Elmore.

On her new role and character, Christina says

“I knew that she was a woman in her mid-twenties, that she was a Lt. in the navy and her job was often as the officer of the desk, to take the orders that the captain gives and give them to the helmsmen that steer the ship, and that she was smart and serious and a lesbian.

And those were the facts I had about her. And so going in it was a process for me, sort of learning about her with everyone else. Every time we get a new script, it’s like, ‘Oh here’s a little more of a taste of who she is.’ But because she hasn’t had much things happen to her — she doesn’t talk much about her personal life — I’m able to sort of invent it a little bit on my own and in my head. So that’s been exciting. And the writers are really open to suggestions and ideas and have been sort of — we’ve been doing it together, seeing what she’s like as we go.”

Christina Elmore

The other new character will be coming to TV this fall. Comedian/actress Erica Ash will play a lesbian named Mary Charles (M-Chuck) on the new Starz half-hour comedy Survivor’s Remorse.

Survivor’s Remorse,” a half-hour comedy, follows Cam Calloway, a basketball phenom in his early 20’s who is suddenly thrust into the limelight after signing a multi-million dollar contract with a professional basketball team in Atlanta. Cam, and an unforgettable group of characters, wrestle with the rewards and pitfalls of stardom, love, and loyalty.

On her character, Erica said…

“Her family is very accepting. She’s very lucky to have that and not have to deal with that struggle internally. It makes her a much stronger person to be able to face the world and say, ‘Hey, if you have a problem with it, it’s your problem, not mine.’ So I’m actually very proud to play this character for that reason.”

Erica Ash

She has also said about the role, that her being a lesbian is never made a big deal of; it simply exists without question.

“I definitely think that there’s something for everyone in the show and my character being a lesbian just adds another nuance,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be a big crazy thing. That’s who she is and that what I think a person who loves someone wants to be—just allow them to be! And not make it like when someone’s black or white—it’s just who they are. It doesn’t need to be set aside as something big or, ‘Ooh, let’s tiptoe around it!’ She just is a lesbian and she moves forward in that and people who watch it, especially my gay and lesbian audience and community and friends, will watch it and think, ‘Right on!’”

Erica Ash

Save the Date – New Mississippi L Word Documentry due August

The Showtime announced Wednesday that it will debut L Word Mississippi: Hate the Sin, a documentary from series creator Ilene Chaiken, in August. The L Word Mississippi will be a 90-minute documentary that unites Chaiken with Real L Word executive producers Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz’s Magical Elves.

Directed by Emmy nominee Lauren Lazin, the new show will explore the daily struggles of a group of Southern lesbians. Chaiken and the Elves will visit Bible Belt towns like Laurel, Gulfport and Hattiesburg to tell the stories of a dozen women, including a newly out-and-proud former pastor banished from her church who later regains her self-esteem by launching a program to support her local LGBTQ community; a white mother who would accept her daughter’s black lover, if only she were a man; a couple who grapples with both infertility and female-to-male gender transitioning; and a former life-long lesbian who struggles to “pray the gay away” and hopes to do the same for her openly gay son.

After The Real L Word was canceled last year, Showtime said they weren’t completely done with the L Word brand and that, instead, they’d put together a documentary about identifying as lesbian in a small town community.

“I’ve been talking a lot with Dan, Jane and Ilene about exploring L Word culture – lesbian culture in places not New York, L.A. – where the subculture is not so defined and it’s not so easy. I think we’re likely to make a documentary that will feel like a Real L Word documentary,”

David Nevins, Showtime Entertainment President

L Word Mississippi will premiere Aug. 8 at 9 p.m. on Showtime. The news comes a day after Showtime announced it would air the entire series runs of Queer as Folk and The L Word to celebrate Gay Pride Month in June. Chaiken, meanwhile, will segue from showrunning ABC’s The Black Box to Fox’s hip-hop drama Empire.

From a press release:

What is life like for lesbians living outside more progressive metropolitan areas in America today where gay women endure hardships, bigotry, bullying, sexism and racism while trying to live among their predominantly straight neighbors? Chaiken and the Elves journey deep into Bible Belt towns like Laurel, Gulfport and Hattiesburg to tell the stories of a dozen such women, including a newly out-and-proud former pastor banished from her church, but who later regains her self-esteem by launching a program to support her local LGBTQ community. A white mother would accept her daughter’s black lover, if only she were a man. A couple grapples with both infertility and female-to-male gender transitioning. And a former life-long lesbian struggles to “pray the gay away,” and hopes to do the same for her openly gay son.

…Against the backdrop of the burgeoning gender and marriage equality debate, L WORD MISSISSIPPI: HATE THE SIN spotlights those loving, living, working, parenting and forcing change from within places where entrenched, conservative values have resisted the progress the LGBTQ community has worked hard to achieve elsewhere.

How TV Culture and Lesbian Visibility Have Changed After The L Word

In short, The L Word wasn’t perfect. In retrospect, the Ilene Chaiken created show was an amalgamated mess of tropes (a bisexual suddenly ‘choosing a side’), problematic story lines (the entirety of Max’s transition story) and faces that were, for the most part, too femme, too white and too conventionally attractive to be a direct reflection of the viewers that were watching it.

When we look back on it now it’s easy to say that The L Word is flawed – it had its problems (with every episode of season 6 being a problem in itself) – but at the time it was the single television program focused around gay lives and gay issues, with other shows either choosing not to address them or sidelining them in favour of something which they deemed more ‘straight viewer friendly’. Always the subplot, never the focus. The L Word was also a stepping stone for the gay characters that we see today too and that is perhaps one of the biggest things that the seminal show has done for queer women.

For one, The L Word is a pillar and bastion of hope for the lives that many young queer women wish they could lead. Granted, not everyone wants to be cheated on by their partner when they’re some months pregnant, nor do they want to be shunned by their homophobic son, nor do they want to lose their male fiancée by having a secret affair with a female barista (or maybe they do, there’s no judgement from me) but in general, the myriad of relationships, the generally quite welcoming tone and the many out and proud women that made up Alice, Bette, Tina and Shane’s friendship circle is something that many ladies aspire to – minus the drama, of course. In fact, the show is for many people the thing that eases them into becoming accepting of themselves, allowing them to be more confident because of the wide, gay world that can be on offer to them if they come out and not just by discussing their female love interests over coffee in a tight night friendship group.

Showtime’s airing of the show was very much one of support. It was a brave decision, perhaps a raunchy one if you want to categorise the depiction of sex and relationships in the show but it wasn’t one that was taken as though The L Word was anything but their flagship program. The L Word was popular and successful and it’s one that saw 17 cast members and behind the scenes producers and writers (including Erin Daniels who played Dana, Rachel Shelley who played Helena and Sarah Shahi who played Carmen) to agree in the April edition of DIVA Magazine that they would love to be part of an L Word movie or maybe a seventh series of the show. The way in which Showtime pioneered The L Word was the best example of a network taking gay culture in its stride, showing that more diverse casts of characters are supported by a majority of straight and queer viewers alike and it’s thankfully something that many other television networks have taken on too.

Admittedly, despite The L Word’s efforts, TV representation of queer women is still stuck in one place – femme. Almost every instance of recent presentation of queer ladies falls into the category, just look at Pretty Little Liars’ Emily Fields and the love interests she’s had over the course of 4 seasons; Emily herself may be a lesbian with a penchant for biker boots and hoodies but at the end of the day her formal attire of choice is still a dress and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! It’s even admirable that Paige McCullers (Emily’s current girlfriend) likes to wear tuxedos and tanks and probably wouldn’t be caught dead in anything sleeveless or above the knee (unless shorts or swimsuits count) but when almost all of TVs regular queer ladies, Brittany and Santana on Glee, Bo and Lauren on Lost Girl the ladies of the pirate-themed drama Black Sails just to name a few, all have hair that falls well below their shoulders and the only example of a queer, butch woman is Orange is the New Black’s Big Boo, questions have to be asked why the full spectrum of queer presentation isn’t at least a bit more supported because God knows the queer world would like to see a true reflection of itself on TV screens.

That being said, many of The L Word’s wrongs are being righted by the current generation of television shows, particularly in terms of queer women of colour. Papi and her magic circles were laughable, not for her hilarious quips but because her Hispanic background was treated in the most stereotypical of ways, so too was Carmen’s in the way in which the dynamics of her disapproving family worked. In one of the most egregious cases of how The L Word messed up, Alice feeling like the only white face amongst black soldier Tasha’s friend group was actually used as a plot point. However with Lost Girl, Glee, Orange is the New Black, Pretty Little Liars and so on, non-white queer identifying faces are faring better than they ever were before – even if the shows they’re on (I’m mostly talking about Glee here) don’t always get it right.

Not only this but together, the sea of non-straight, fictional faces is making a large splash in the grander scheme of things with actual science supporting the fact that by knowing a gay person you are twice as likely to support gay rights. Even better is the fact that ‘knowing a gay person’ sometimes just means ‘seeing a gay character on TV’.

The fact of the matter is that the more queer characters on TV, the more support for the rights of queer people there is because people will have seen the struggles of queer people first hand – even if they are dramatised for a television storyline. So while The L Word may not have been the sturdiest pillar to build queer visibility on, it was one of the first and most important building blocks and for that many of us are eternally grateful.