International Lesbian Day, held on October 8, is a day for lesbians the world over to come together to celebrate lesbian history, diversity and culture.
Recognised annually, the day gives an opportunity for women, families and friends to connect, celebrate and also raise awareness about the importance of community.
Although the exact origin of the day remains uncertain, it almost certainly began in Australia/New Zealand.
Some say the day began in 1980 when a Lesbian Day March was held in New Zealand.
The first Australian event was held at the Collingwood Town Hall in Melbourne on October 13, 1990. It featured musicians, market stalls and readings during the afternoon. Following that, the women held a dance with live bands later in the evening. Melbourne lesbians then celebrated the day on or around October 8 for the next several years.
In recent years lesbians encourage the community to either get together or show support by donating to charities supporting lesbian women.
International Lesbian Day is all-inclusive. It’s a day to be shared by lesbians and also allies of lesbian rights.
Meridian is committed to improving health and wellbeing services and supports for women across the spectrum of sex and gender diversity and who are sexually and/or romantically attracted to women. This includes women who identify as lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, gay, queer, asexual, trans, gender diverse and intersex.
In 2019, Women’s Centre for Health Matters with support from Meridian published a report on health and health needs of same-sex attracted women in the ACT.
359 same-sex attracted women completed the survey, and 32 women attended the focus groups. Three women were interviewed over the phone. Key demographic information about the survey participants is provided below.
LBQ Women's Healthy Relationships Project
This exciting peer-led six-week program empowers lesbian, bisexual and queer women in their relationships and identities. This peer-led, designed and facilitated project aims to prevent violence in LBQ women’s relationships by providing women with skills and information that helps them to build and maintain healthy relationships. Taking a strengths-based, prevention approach, the program supports women to build and sustain healthy boundaries, develop a mutual understanding of consent and advocate for their needs within relationships. This project is supported by the ACT Government’s ACT Women’s Safety Grants program.
Due to the impact of Coronavirus, delivery of this program has been delayed with new dates to be finalised soon. For further information on this program or to stay up to date, please contact us.
Here are some resources for International Lesbian Day:
- Podcast: Women Who Have Sex With Women - The low-down on the go-down
- Lesbian Health Research Snapshot (LGBTIQ+ Health Australia)
- Services for women at Meridian
- SWASH Study - on lesbian health
Westlund Counselling provides professional, safe and inclusive counselling for women, their families and allies seeking support to improve their mental health and wellbeing. Our Counsellors are very experienced in providing support on: sexual orientation and gender identity; emotional and physical health; relationships; and employment. Find out more about Westlund Counselling here.
Sobar: SMART Recovery provides weekly online group catch-ups for LBTIQ+ women in Canberra to take control of their relationship with alcohol. Hosted by a SMART accredited facilitator with the support of counselling staff from Westlund Counselling, this health promotion program created by Meridian and funded by ACT Health helps community members check-in, focus on their goals and maintain positive behaviours around alcohol consumption.
If you or someone you know is in a life-threatening situation, please call the police on 000.
Domestic Violence Crisis Service (DVCSACT) provides intervention services for LGBTIQ+ community members experiencing domestic violence. To access this service call 02 6280 0900 (24/7 telephone service). You are welcome to call reverse charges. If it isn’t urgent, another contact option is to email [email protected]; this email is only monitored during business hours.
SHFPACT delivers clinical services, supports and education programs on sexual and reproductive health.
Women’s Centre for Health Matters works to improve women’s health and wellbeing in the ACT and surrounding region through health promotion, social research, community development, capacity building, information provision, education and advocacy.