Cliques harm­ing At­lanta’s women’s spa­ces

GA Voice - - Front Page -

A cou­ple of months ago, I went to a les­bian party by my­self. I’m used to go­ing out alone so I had no reser­va­tions about at­tend­ing this event. Ini­tially, I waited at the bar for more pa­trons to ar­rive be­fore I went to the dance floor. As time pro­gressed, I no­ticed that the en­vi­ron­ment looked less like a night­club and more like a mid­dle school dance.

The dance floor was mostly empty while the wall was clut­tered with women star­ing into the mid­dle of the club. They were sec­tioned off into cliques and those that weren’t in cliques were one half of a cou­ple. There was lit­tle to no so­cial­iz­ing. If I looked at some­one with a smile, I got an icy stare in re­turn. The most in­ter­ac­tion I got was when I asked the bar­tender for a re­fill. I usu­ally stay at a party un­til the lights come up, but I left early. I sat in my Uber feel­ing like I’d wasted my time and an out­fit.

A few weeks later, I de­cided to try an­other les­bian party. This time, I met up with a few friends and had a fun time. Still, I no­ticed the same type of cliquish­ness. Ev­ery­one, my­self in­cluded, stayed with their crew. No one danced or talked to any­one out­side of their group. And like the pre­vi­ous party, there were nu­mer­ous peo­ple lean­ing against the walls.

I’ve been to sev­eral main­stream gay events and I’ve never ex­pe­ri­enced this type of be­hav­ior on a large scale. If I stand around long enough, some twink will walk up to me and strike up a con­ver­sa­tion. We might even dance to a cou­ple of songs. For a lot of them, my Black girl ex­is­tence is enough to elicit a “yasssss.” I don’t ex­pe­ri­ence that in les­bianand women-cen­tered spa­ces.

If you Google the term “les­bian spa­ces,” a list of edi­to­ri­als lament­ing the lack of women’s spa­ces will ap­pear. Some of them even claim that “dyke cul­ture” is dis­ap­pear­ing. There are a va­ri­ety of the­o­ries around this is­sue rang­ing from lack of eco­nomic power to the in­creas­ing ac­cep­tance of gen­der and sex­ual flu­id­ity.

While it’s true that women’s spa­ces don’t get half the care or at­ten­tion that men’s spa­ces re­ceive, I can’t help but won­der if this herd men­tal­ity I’ve wit­nessed is part of the is­sue. Dyke cul­ture, while beau­ti­ful, can be aw­fully rigid. Bi­sex­ual and trans­gen­der women are viewed as in­trud­ers. If you don’t sub­scribe to the strict masc-femme di­chotomy, good luck on get­ting a date. Not to men­tion, women, re­gard­less of sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, are con­di­tioned to see each other as com­pe­ti­tion. I value sis­ter­hood and hate stereo­types about women not be­ing able to get along, so I des­per­ately want to be proven wrong.

It’s Pride week and thou­sands of LGBTQ peo­ple will be de­scend­ing upon At­lanta for the fes­tiv­i­ties. I hope my mind will have changed when it’s time for me to write an­other editorial. If you see me in th­ese streets, don’t be scared to speak to me. I don’t bite, un­less that’s what you like.

Happy Pride, fam­ily.

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