There are twelve lesbians sitting around a table covered in candles, flowers, and “the good dishes”. Our crystalware is filled with bubbles and liquid chatter. It’s been a long year. Half of us in the room have stolen someone’s favorite shirt and the other half knows someone’s deepest darkest secret but has sworn to take it to the grave. We scrutinize each other’s lives and argue about politics, just like all families do. Because, we are a family, and this is our first annual Family Holigay Dinner.
Some of us are out of the closet and have supportive family members, some of us have parents that have disowned us, and some of us are still in the closet. But when we’re together, we experience the unconditional love we’ve always longed for our entire lives. It makes the harsh comments and abandonment from our own families more tolerable because when the pain strikes, we have a shoulder to cry on. We may keep each other in check with concerned criticisms and lectures, but we will never judge each other for being our true selves.
This wasn’t the case for most of us less than a year ago.
For about a year and a half now, I have been both a lesbian event producer and an entertainment reporter for the longest running lesbian entertainment website in history. Although I quickly immersed myself into lesbian culture after coming out of the closet, I felt like more of an organizer for solidified groups of friends to come together. Even though I was surrounded by these like-minded individuals all of the time, I still felt like an outsider missing genuine connections to the community.
On Wednesday, March 29th, 2017, I arrived at Club Skirt’s Dinah Shore Weekend (AKA: The Dinah) single, clueless, and somewhat freshly out as a lesbian (it had been about two years). I had heard stories about Dinah, seen TV Shows with footage of girls at pool parties, and did plenty of research before I arrived.
Part of the prep process involved me confronting my own body-image issues after seeing #DinahBody hashtags on tanned gym selfies of women all over Instagram. But, Dinah Shore Weekend was everything and nothing I could expect — all at once. It’s not something a baby dyke can properly prepare for. You just have to dive in and enjoy the experience.
My primary reason for being at Dinah was to do red carpet coverage for AfterEllen. Which I did. However, when the cameras were off and the microphone was locked up, I was on the dance floor meeting strangers and making new friends. Never have I ever experienced more debauchery in my life.
What came of it?
Best friends. Community. Sincere connections. And my girlfriend, Sarah Woodward (who is also the AfterEllen videographer). Although we knew each other prior to Dinah, it is was at the Club Skirt’s Dinah Shore Weekend of 2017 where we truly grew inseparable. In case you were there, she was the one who showed up to the Pink Party in a white bathrobe and made her viral debut as the weird girl drunkenly dancing on stage next to DJ Ry Toast. No, she was not a hired go-go dancer. But she rocked it in that bathrobe. It was love at first site.
Okay, not exactly at first site. The first time I saw her I was DJing a neon paint party. I was dressed like a rainbow cheetah and she was covered in gold body paint and looked like an Egyptian sculpture from ancient times — and we didn’t notice each other at all. The only reason we even realized this had happened is because the party images provided us with photo evidence. Either way, you get the point. After truly connecting, being best friends for a while, being in denial of our romantic feelings, then finally giving in after being unable to have enough of each other… we eventually fell in love, okay? That’s all that really matters.
So, long story short… If you do The Dinah right, you may end up going home with both a family and the love of your life. That’s how Dinah changed my life.
Watch our video from last year:
About The Author:
Lily Khuu is a psychic lesbian witch who enjoys expressing her predictions through the art of GIF and meme. She is also the executive producer and founder of the feminist group Matriarchy where she channels her activism by creating liberating female-focused gatherings. As an entertainment reporter for AfterEllen she gives the lesbian community a voice through public media. When she isn’t stuffing a microphone in someone’s beautiful face, she’s spinning under the pseudonym DJ Matriarchy. You can find her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.