Getting to know Lesbians Benefitting
Lesbians Benefitting the Arts (L.B.A., Inc.) is a not-for-profit, volunteer driven corporation designed to produce events and promote artistic efforts, showcase lesbian / women performers, women’s community, support lesbians / women artists and entrepreneurs and lesbians / women in the arts.
The LBA (Lesbians Benefitting the Arts: producers of the Ohio Lesbian Festival) made a conscious choice 30+ years ago to be inclusive, open and welcoming to all women; lesbian, straight, bi and trans. The radical act of naming the organization and the festival “Lesbian” spoke then and continues to speak today to the creating of spaces where lesbians are the dominant paradigm. Spaces where all womyn can gather, be in community and share our power and our passion. We also committed to making spaces that are safe for women to come and learn from and about each other and about our common oppressions and our diversity.
There is too much hate in the world. The LBA passionately lives at the intersections. “We are stronger together.” “There is no hierarchy of oppression.” “No one is free as long as others are oppressed.” These are more than great quotes – they are guiding principles. Dominant culture is misogynist, racist, sexist, homophobic, biphobic and transphobic. It is also ageist, ableist, anti-sematic and generally intolerant of difference and diversity. They seek to divide us – the more they can focus our energy on fighting each other – the less we have to fight “them.” We will not be manipulated into participating in our own oppression or the oppression of our sisters.
We acknowledge that the experience of womyn who were born and raised female is different than the experience of transgender women. We honor that difference and embrace the common oppression that we all feel as women. Because our experiences are different does not mean we cannot honor each other as women.
We welcome dialogue. Conversation is how we learn and grow and begin to build bridges instead of walls.
Toward Building A Global Community
Anti-Oppression, Anti-Racism and Anti-Bullying
Lesbians Benefitting the Arts is committed to the inclusion and honoring of ALL womyn. We seek to establish a culture that fosters respect for each other as a global community. Our desire is to create a lesbian centered world where we celebrate all womyn. We strive to create a culture of radical global community-building and safer space1. We acknowledge and embrace that there are womyn with varying points of view on many topics and believe that this diversity of both womyn and opinion is a part of our strength. We will never all be in agreement, but even that discord is important to the dialogue. We ask only that womyn agree to disagree civilly and with respect. We know that treating each other with disrespect only reinforces the damage and hurt that womyn have experienced in their lives, and we do not want to compound that pain. We call on the community to join us in this work and to draw strength from our differences and our shared commitment to each other.
All Womyn Welcome, Always means we must stand together as womyn, as lesbians, as womyn of color, as native and indigenous womyn, as womyn with disabilities, as deaf womyn, as womyn born womyn, as transgender womyn, as de-transitioned womyn, as straight womyn, as bisexual womyn, as immigrant womyn, as undocumented womyn, as young and old womyn, as spiritual womyn and womyn of faith, we must recognize our common ground and celebrate our differences together.
LBA: A Safer Space for ALL Womyn. Guiding Principles
- A safer community environment is essential for ALL womyn
- Womyn are entitled to enjoy community free from racism, harassment, intimidation, and bullying
- LBA offers events where every womyn is free to be exactly who she is
LBA: A Commitment to Radical Community Building. An Invitation
- Stake a claim – we all have space here.
- It is OK to be uncomfortable – trust the friction.
- Actively work to unlearn; internalized patriarchy, dismantle racism, & strive for accessibility
- Practice Radical Listening – we can all be better listeners.
- Womyn sometimes disagree – but always treat ALL sisters with respect
- Acknowledge that our words or actions may harm another woman, even if unintentionally
- Do not hesitate to offer your hand to a sister – Be good Allies.
LBA: Acknowledgement. Our Truths
- Actions have consequences
- Oppression can be expressed in writing, verbally or by physical action
- Incidents will happen within the LBA community
- LBA will work to respond and ease tensions
LBA: Actions and Expectations
- We don’t tolerate words that traditionally silence, hurt, undercut, or erase
- We ask you to refrain from using any slur or derogatory term
- Intentionally mis-gendering another womyn is unacceptable
- When referring to others, respect their choice to use gender neutral pronouns
- It is likely that the default pronouns you will hear used at LBA events will be female pronouns
- If you witness something troubling, reach out to the womyn affected, offer assistance, notify LBA members.
- LBA reserves the right to delete comments online that are not consistent with this spirit
- LBA leadership will interrupt bad behavior
- LBA will determine and implement the appropriate response to any incident at our events
1 LBA defines community space to include not only the events we produce, but also our online forums, social media, web site and all other activities or events produced by LBA.
Meet the LBA Board Members
We will be announcing guidelines and application process for board positions in the near future.
Chris Cozad is the President of the Board of Lesbians Benefitting the Arts (LBA) and is a founding member of both the organization and the Ohio Lesbian Festival. Chris owns Alternative Auto Care, an openly lesbian owned business in Columbus, Ohio and she is an ASE certified Master Auto Technician. She is a community activist, a radical feminist and a staunch advocate for women. Chris is passionate about womyn’s community and believes that womyn are stronger when we learn, live and play together. Chris lives in Clintonville with her partner of nearly 40 years, Gloria and their sweet cat, Watson.
Board Vice President
Christy Fulton is the Secretary of Lesbians Benefitting the Arts (LBA) and a member of the Production Team of the Ohio Lesbian Festival (OLF). Christy is an End of Life Doula and she is currently training to become a Life-Cycle Celebrant. Christy loves travel, books, gardening, sewing, and womyn's community. She lives in a lesbian commune in Columbus, Ohio and is in the process of living part-time in a rural lesbian land community.