Coming out. Lesbian* Virtual Archive
human rights
City (headquarters):
Voivodeship (headquarters):
01-02-2021 - 31-08-2022
Project cost:
24 000,00 EUR
24 000,00 EUR
Types of activities:
information activities, civic media
Target groups:
women, LGBT+

The project addresses the gap of the invisibility of non-heteronormative women in Poland and the inadequate documentation of their culture and herstory. For years, the LGBT+ community has been the target of a political and media hate campaign, which includes, for example, homophobic statements by politicians or the recently established local government so-called “LGBT+ free zones.” Lesbians themselves are hardly visible even within the LGBT+ community. The herstory of lesbians is marked by repeated discrimination based on gender identity and psychosexual orientation, resulting in lesbians going into hiding, becoming depressed or having suicidal thoughts. In turn, the result of lesbians’ invisibility is often ignorance of their existence and their needs. This is clearly a group that needs to remember its past and culture in order to build its identity and strengthen its self-esteem.

The project has created a Lesbian* Virtual Archive documenting Polish les*culture since the 19th century. The archive consists of a continuously published cultural calendar and a variety of materials – interviews with les*artists, critical texts about lesbian works and projects, cross-sectional analyses of motifs, themes and phenomena – also in multimedia form. The creation of the archive was accompanied by promotional activities, including a performance action with the installation Mobile Les*Drawers at equality marches, as well as mini-installations placed at NGOs engaged in anti-discrimination and LGBT+ empowerment activities in various cities. In addition, a zine on lesbian zines and a literary audiobook with excerpts from the work of non-heteronormative women were created.

The project was one of the first and few to gather and record the individual experiences of non-heteronormative women, showing them as a collective with a specific herstory and heritage. It is an important element in building identity, a sense of belonging, acceptance and security for the community of non-heteronormative women in Poland. The archive has brought out and amplified the voice of a group that has always been marginalized and unnoticed in both patriarchal society and the rainbow community. The project has created a place where knowledge about les*culture is collected, and putting it online makes it widely accessible. An important result of the project is also the networking of people involved in archiving and collecting materials about LGBT+ people.

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