Lesbian Visibility Day, 26 April 2023

Lesbian Visibility Day is a day to recognise and celebrate the contributions of lesbian women around the world. The day was created in 2008 to raise awareness of the issues faced by lesbians, and to encourage them to live authentically.

To celebrate Lesbian Visibility Day 2023, the Library’s LGBTQIA+ Ally group has compiled a reading list of items within the collection that highlight and celebrate lesbian stories and experiences from around the world.

(Image: Honi Soit, 1977, vol. 50 issue 25)

In the Dream House

Author: C.M Machado

In this genre-bending memoir, author Carmen Maria Machado explores her experience of abuse in a same-sex relationship, drawing on a series of narrative tropes from horror, fantasy, erotica, literary theory, and beyond. She tackles an extremely challenging topic with nuance, wit, vulnerability, and imagination, leaving the reader as haunted as the eponymous “dream house”.

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The Argonauts

Author: M.Nelson

“The Argonauts” is many things – a series of theoretical essays, a queer and feminist manifesto, and, perhaps most importantly, a love story. Maggie Nelson details her romance with gender-fluid partner Harry Dodge and their journey into pregnancy and child-rearing with an irrepressible tenderness and joy. This book is a celebration of queer families, of small joys, of caretaking, of lovemaking, and of radical individual freedom.

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The Amazons: Lives and legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World

Author: A. Mayor

History has, indeed, been male-washed, but this is a refreshingly feminist read of the archaeological and historical record. And as an added bonus, the purported lesbianism of the Amazons is addressed – particularly as a disruptive symbol in direct opposition to ideals of Athenian masculinity.

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After Sappho

Author: S.W Schwartz

Told in a series of cascading vignettes, featuring a multitude of voices, After Sappho is Selby Wynn Schwartz’s joyous reimagining of the lives of a brilliant group of feminists, sapphists, artists and writers in the late 19th and early 20th century as they battle for control over their lives; for liberation and for justice.

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Author: E. Baltasar

The grim and lovely follow-up to Eva Baltasar’s acclaimed Permafrost explores the darker sides of love and motherhood for two women determined to live as they like.

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Mouths of Rain: An anthology of black lesbian thought.

Author: B. Jones

A ground-breaking collection tracing the history of intellectual thought by Black Lesbian writers, in the tradition of The New Press’s perennial seller “Words of Fire”. African American lesbian writers and theorists have made extraordinary contributions to feminist theory, activism, and writing. Mouths of Rain, the companion anthology to Beverly Guy-Sheftall’s classic “Words of Fire”, traces the long history of intellectual thought produced by Black Lesbian writers, spanning the nineteenth century through the twenty-first century.

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The last night at the Telegraph Club

Author: M. Lo

Winner of numerous awards, this beloved poignant lesbian novel is set in San Francisco’s Chinatown in 1954, during the Red Scare, when openly exploring queerness isn’t an option.

Protagonist Lily secretly gathers photos of women with masculine qualities, is drawn toward ‘unfeminine; clothing and interests, and slowly recognises her lesbianism with her budding connection to Kathleen Miller, a white classmate.

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The big lie

Author: J. Mayhew

In an alternate-world modern England under Nazi rule, sheltered teen Jessika Keller questions what it means to be good when she develops an attraction for her best friend, Clementine, an outspoken, radical girl who has drawn the attention of the Nazi regime.

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Lesbian art: an encounter with power

Author: E. Ashburn

This benchmark publication documents the diversity and vitality of lesbian talent in Australia. A hitherto marginalised group, lesbian artists are now being incorporated into mainstream culture and this book provides a timely introduction to the issues explored by these artists, which include sexuality, mythology and religion, mass media and technology.

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Immortal invisible: Lesbians and the moving image

Author: T. Wilton

The first book that bought together “leading film-makers, academics and activists to discuss films by, for and about lesbians and queer women” It was written in the mid-nineties, so shows its age, and was written in peak Kill your Gays/No Happy Endings for Lesbians era, as well as being of the time where you took subtext and ran with it.

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Oranges are not the only fruit

Author: J. Winterson

This is the story of Jeanette, adopted and brought up by working-class evangelists in the North of England to be one of God’s elect. Passionate, headstrong and shielded by her mother’s grand disapproval of a sinful world, she seems destined for life as a missionary. And then she meets Melanie. At sixteen, Jeanette faces a world of uncertainty as she breaks from the church and her community for the young woman she loves. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a warm, witty and daring novel that gives voice to irrepressible desire.

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