Lesbiennale 2K19 is a three day celebration of lesbianism curated by Nadine Ahmad and Naeem Davis.
Hold tight for a sharp selection of global art, music, performance & film centering sidelined identities and communities within lesbianism, because we know that dykes are not a monolith but in fact a gorgeous nuanced mess.
This is for trans lesbians, non-binary POC lesbians, dark skin lesbians, lesbians who like sex, lesbians who like getting paid for sex, lonely lesbians, long-haired lesbians, queer lesbians, ex-lesbians, big dick lesbians who like three sugars in their tea, Black nerdy lesbians, your lesbian neighbour who hates you, and all the other marginalised bocats of the lesbian world.
To say lesbian is not to say binary or woman or pussy. It’s thought that OG lesbian icon Sappho (the ancient Greek poet who lived on the island of Lesbos where the word lesbian originates) was herself known to enjoy lovers of all genders. While it’s impossible to know if this is actually true or not, maybe it’s worth repeating anyway, as a salve for those of us who have felt ~ not lesbian enough ~ and because it doesn’t actually matter does it.
Sometimes it feels nice to be a lesbian, to have a home for a while, to honour the feeling that perhaps inherent in that word is something that explains the way you’re moving in that moment better than any of the other words currently available. Pansexual doesn’t always slap in the way you need it to.
The word lesbian is a label and like all labels it provides a type of freedom via its provision of language to a particular sub-culture or experience that would otherwise gladly be overlooked by the masses. Like all labels, it is also, on some level, constricting and exclusive, fundamentally disappointing, and once dominated by dusty, white, cis, transphobic energy, inhabitable to many. Who thought it would be a good idea to affix the colonizer’s language to matters of body and soul and spirit and sex anyway? Man could never.
While it’s true that lesbians are angry at all times, it’s okay because we’re also fucking at all times. We’re changing, trolling, loving at all times. We’re playing it by ear, sweetie. We’re bleeding at the alter of thank god i’m gay and lesbian culture is lying in bed with her and seeing who dies first, a lot of fast and gentle and sad. A lot of put it in my mouth now and we can work out what to call it later okay, daddy?
Lesbienale 2019 allows us to explore our intersections and complications and fantasies and fears by showcasing art that represents some parts of the huge and magmatic expression contained within the word lesbian. Dig with us through the lesbian archives they failed to destroy, and dream with us of the sweetest sap, the coldest metal, the gayest future.
Text by Aisha Mirza