For Lesbian Visibility Day 2019, we kept things close to home and spoke to our favourite lesbian on the PLUG team, the unstoppable Josie Mitchell. We discussed where all the ladies at, what straight men think of her sex life, and finally got the bottom of whether or not lesbians are people.
Josie is a magic-maker at Treacle, a creative production house behind some of Hong Kong’s most woman-forward production teams and producers of Calvin Klein’s first ever International Women’s Day campaign for Asia, featuring 10 diverse power stories.
It might seem unnecessary to talk about yet another ‘visibility’ day, but when we tried searching for fun ‘lesbian gifs’ to sprinkle throughout our chat, we learned first-hand how little credible representation there is out there. Granted, this is in the context of gifs and memes, but also isn’t that the language of the times? Look deeper (on Google) for ‘lesbian bars in Hong Kong’ and you get a Time Out article from 2011.
Benita Chick, curator of the ‘LGBT in the City’ walking tour and Director of Pink Alliance’s IDAHOT (International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia) campaign, describes what lesbian life used to be like in the city back when there was a vibrant cafe scene in the early 2000s.
“This era was one of the more exciting times to be a lesbian in Hong Kong…While gay bars existed in Hong Kong since the early nineties, lesbian gathering places were always very limited. Lesbian cafes offered a good alternative for lesbians who just wanted to meet up with their friends in a cosy environment.”Benita Chick
Her article about Hong Kong’s lesbian spaces thoroughly timelines the recent journey of their community, starting from the birth of lesbian-only Internet forums to pop-up parties to the proliferation of dating apps and Facebook groups.
While we may be finding it difficult to “see” where our lesbian community members are, maybe they don’t want to be so easily found, or maybe they’re actually more present than we think.
We turn back to Josie Mitchell to school us on what we don’t know.
What are your thoughts on ‘lesbian visibility’? Are they hard to see? Or is it that they have trouble seeing? Enlighten us.
I once had a guy tell me that he couldn’t imagine me being able to f*** my girlfriend because I’m small and feminine. What the actual f***?! I’m sure my girlfriend is a lot more satisfied than any girl he’s dating, if the only way he thinks to please a woman is to pound her like a jack rabbit. Anyway, bringing that back on topic, there are so many misconceptions and crazy assumptions out there about lesbians and this can affect how gay women feel they should act. Increased lesbian visibility of all types of lesbians will help gay women be able to be themselves and hopefully reduce offensive bullshit from gross cis white men. #NotAllCisWhiteMenAreGross Thank you.
What shape should ‘lesbian visibility’ take on in 2019?
When I’m out with my girlfriend and we see someone we’ve decided is also a lesbian purely based on their looks, we whisper ‘family’ or she’ll start singing ‘We are Family’. So even lesbians assume sexuality based on looks, which is super irksome to my single femme-looking lesbian friends who end up not getting hit on because they’re assumed to be straight. I’d say lesbian visibility needs to change in that we need to see all types of lesbians.
Lesbians are just people- grandmas, transgender people, people with disabilities, supermodels, superheroes, mothers, asexual, Deliveroo drivers, smart people and dumb people. There isn’t one type of lesbian. We also need to embrace intersectionality with gender non-conforming people and bisexual women
What are some stereotypes that still need to be dismantled?
Let’s stop saying that lesbians are angry. As women, we have a lot to be angry about. But given that lesbians statistically have more orgasms, there’s mostly a lot of joy.
Can you recommend anywhere to look for good representation of lesbian life and culture?
Check out AutoStraddle.com.
Speaking on behalf of all lesbians, any final words?