Rainbow Counsellor Ciara O'Neill writes about the impact of meaningful representation of lesbian women in media.

It's Lesbian Visibility week, and you have just caught me watching one of my favourite TV shows Wynonna Earp. Growing up I sometimes found it difficult to relate to some of the characters within TV and Film which is why in present day, I am happier about the increased inclusion of our own community within media. One of the Wynonna Earps’ storylines are based around the relationship of Nicole Haught and Waverly Earp- how two people can come together and just be. There was no heightened drama around the fact they were a queer couple- they just had to get on with sending demons back to hell. Just a normal day in Purgatory. Kat Barrell who plays Nicole Haught spoke to DIVA magazine and shared how important her character is “Nicole makes queer women feel seen. What more can you ask for? That’s the most beautiful thing a character can do.”

This show highlights the importance of good story lines for female queer characters. At the same time within another show (The 100) a growing contempt was happening. After teasing the audience they finally brought two characters together, Lexa and Clarke. Only to have Lexa killed off in the SAME episode. The idea that queer characters are not sufficient is highlighted within the trope name itself for this “Bury your Gays” and “dead lesbian syndrome”. Due to the fan outcry after Lexa was killed off, it sparked the initiative to showcase the importance of LGBTQ female characters within TV, Film and Gaming. This became Clexacon. A fan convention now held every year which has produced so much creativity within fans, writers and actors. Out of such a demeaning death of a queer character, a new community was born, encouraging the development and appreciation of queer women.

Last year I was very fortunate to have been able to get tickets for both my partner and myself for the finals of the Women’s World Cup in France. Throughout the week lesbian visibility was high both on and off the pitch. Within the tournament, at  least 41 female players or coaches classify as being openly gay or bisexual. Among these women was openly gay Megan Rapinoe. I huge trailblazer for Equality on and off the pitch. She a good friend to USA teammates, Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger who before the tournament came public about their long term relationship by announcing their engagement.  The couple nicknamed by fans as “Krashlyn”, kept their relationship out of public eye in fear of losing their jobs, sponsorships deals etc. However, after a conversation with Megan Rapinoe on how the importance of visibility is to help people, feeling the same way, to be more comfortable in their own skin they decided it was too important to not be public. Krashlyn’s forever growing fan base thank them daily for their visibility, words of strength and encouragement and work they are doing for the LGBT Community.  Thanks Girls!