Note: I’ve used the word ‘lesbian’ here as a shorthand but want to include other sexual orientations such as bisexuality and pansexuality.
Scroll any lesbian forum, anywhere in the world, and you’ll eventually happen upon the same question. Where can I meet gay women?
While cis gay men have apps like Grindr, shows like Queer Eye, and bars like Family, lesbian-specific apps, shows, and bars are generally harder to come by. (Sexy pun not intended, but fitting.)
Lesbians seeking to meet (and, inevitably, date) other women often seem a bit stranded.
While New Zealand has a storied queer history and a fuck-ton of queer women in our midst, the scene does tilt male. Such is life under patriarchy, which is not to say I don’t love our queer brothers, or Family Bar, or The Male Gayz. It’s just that, when it comes to a lesbian scene, one must dig a little deeper.
Let’s start with that fuck-ton of queer women – it may surprise you how many icons we lay claim to. There’s:
The mother of marriage equality.
The ‘lefty, feminist lesbian’ in parliament.
The sweary singer.
The one on 7 Days.
The less-sweary singer who’s married to the actress.
Not to even mention that New Zealand is responsible for one of the all-time lesbian icons: Xena fucking Warrior Princess.
With a list like that, you may find yourself curious about our country’s queer herstory. If that’s the case, I’d recommend checking out Charlotte Museum. Purportedly the only lesbian-specific museum on the planet, and packed with lesbian artifacts and queer exhibitions, Charlotte Museum in New Lynn is the place to go to discover how we got where we are today.
But what about the future, you ask?
Rainbow Youth is a good place to start, especially for young folks just coming out of the closet (or those petrified of taking that step).
Or for gals just wanting a good, sapphic-celebrating party there’s Lick Auckland (also in Wellington & Christchurch). I’ve never been myself, but I’m told it’s a raucous good time.
As for those of us who prefer a coffee and book over partying into the wee hours, there’s the lesbian-owned and operated café Garnet Station. You’ll spot them by the big rainbow flag out front. (Note: You don’t have to be gay to enjoy a Garnet Station coffee – but it helps!) Also keep an eye out for events happening in their Tiny Theatre – I once attended a lesbian karaoke night, aptly called Dykes on Mics, where the whole room busted out a chorus of I am Woman. Truly beautiful.
Also on the chill side is Auckland Women’s Centre’s Rainbow Women Social Night – a monthly evening of board games or movie screenings.
And keep an eye out for Basement Theatre’s Queer Scenes, a monthly (free!) screening of queer films for queer audiences. The films aren't specifically targeted at lesbians, but there WILL be lesbian films. The next, for instance, is the modern lesbian classic The Kids Are Alright. Reserve your space now!
Mostly though, as a queer woman living in Auckland, I’d recommend going to events that suit your pre-existing interests. If you hate clubbing, you’re not going to meet your people there. Likewise, if you hate yoga, a lesbian yoga class (oh God, don’t Google that in public) won’t do you any good. Live your life the way you want to, and don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to people. Eventually you’ll find your scene.
And if all else fails, set your Tinder and/or Bumble account/s to women only. No gaydar required!Support Villainesse