From our July 2017 Archives
Despite being the first letter in the LGBT, lesbians don’t often get centered in today’s culture. Compared to our gay male counterparts, lesbians have far fewer spaces – both online and off – dedicated to us. Most lesbian bars have closed, and unlike gay men, we get monthly “all-inclusive” events at best, but certainly not a plethora of women’s bars up and down the street like gay men take for granted in NYC and San Francisco. Outside of large cities, lesbians fare worse, with many left feeling isolated and wondering if they are the only lesbian on the planet.
Online, the word lesbian has been met with some derision just in the past five years. Of course, sites like AfterEllen and a few other lesbian-focused sites respect and embrace lesbian identity (women who exclusively love/have sex with other women) but the word holds a certain threatening association for people. We are the one group of people who are never available to men, after all. Let that sink in.
Several of us were thrilled to see that Vogue magazine included lesbian-specific stories in their Pride edition last month, because it’s important to remind society at large sometimes that gay is ok. Yes, you read that right. A non-LGBT mainstream magazine centered lesbians and it was glorious. We thank them for helping show that lesbian is not a dirty word, and is not an antiquated political movement (although yes, we are also inherently political since we reject men while living under a patriarchy) but is quite simply a sexual orientation that exists, and deserves to be respected.
The magazine featured a whole series centering gay women as part of their “American Women:Pride” feature collection and we encourage you to check it out if you missed it in June. Because really, for us, Pride is all year round. Here are a couple of highlights that AfterEllen staff found particularly inspiring. Thank you, Vogue, for helping make lesbians en vogue again. Literally.
MODEL LESBIANS – Story by Maya Singer, photographed by Cass Bird.
“I knew, going into this shoot, that I didn’t want to include anyone who just, sometimes, or even mostly, dates women,” Bird notes. “I wanted lesbians. I wanted women who embrace that identity. Because as much as I understand the desire to get away from labels and signifiers, I also believe there can be power in a label—in people coming together as a group. That’s how you gain rights. It’s how you create a movement.” – Cass Bird
Pssst. Erika Linder is featured…
LIVING HERSTORY – Story by by
Vogue allows us to see these amazing pivotal moments in lesbian Herstory, and if you don’t know who Joan E. Biren is, now is the time to study up, no matter if Pride month is over.
Lesbians are no longer a minority on Fire Island, according to the feature story by Alex Hawgood. From the article:
“Strolling along the island’s winding, car-less boardwalks under the towering bamboo and clusters of Japanese black pines, one might bump into JD Samson, the androgynous artist and DJ from the legendary electro-punk band Le Tigre, in a tank top and short men’s swim trunks. (Or some mixture of those elements: It was while visiting the Pines last month that Samson went topless at the beach for the first time in her life.)”
Vogue also features stories on lesbians in tech, couples in love, the rising stars of rap, and the back to the land movement that is now taking root in California. Read these and other lesbian-centric stories in Vogue’s “American Women: Pride” feature.