The AfterEllen.com Huddle: Your Lesbian Welcome Kit

They say that when a lesbian comes out, she’s sent a toaster oven as a welcome gift. What good is that, really? There are so many other things that would be more beneficial to a newly minted gay girl, and we’ve got some ideas on what should go into that kit.

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Group, what would you put in the Official Lesbian Membership Package?

Grace Chu: While such an item does not exist, although it should, a city specific version of Alice’s chart should be given to every newly minted lesbian as a reference guide. A newbie lesbian doesn’t have the detailed web of sapphic entanglements already burned into her memory like the rest of us. This guide will tell you who your crush has been with and who she is associated with, so you don’t accidentally hit on two people in the same social circle and get blacklisted. It will also contain helpful annotations, such as whether any of your crush’s exes are crazy enough to wreak havoc on your life. Since this is 2013, this chart should come as a downloadable iPhone or Android application with geolocation, so if you travel to another city, it will automatically repopulate your phone with ladies in that city. It would also be more discreet than carrying around a dry wipe board.

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Anna Pulley: All my exes numbers. Might as well cut to the chase.

Chloë: A tumblr account. She’ll be needing it to document her many feelings and cyber-stalk other lesbians.

Elaine Atwell: I’d like to throw every girl who comes out a party.  It could be tailored to her specific tastes; a wine and cheese candlelit evening for some, a raucous blowout complete with inflatable castle for another. But she could meet all the women who will shortly be ruining/enriching her life, receive DVDs of required viewing, and whichever girl kissed her first could be given the ceremonial recruitment toaster.

Bridget McManus: My welcome basket would include:

    • The DVD If These Walls Could Talk 2
    • The L Word box set
    • a vintage poster of Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman
    • drink tickets at The Abbey
    • a hardcover copy of  Sarah WatersTipping the Velvet
    • a rainbow notebook for journaling
    • three sports bras (white, black and grey)
    • and my cell phone number in case they have additional questions.

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Dara Nai: Every new lesbian should receive a gift bag containing the following:

    • One pair of Vans, Chucks, or Skechers.
    • A DVD 3-pack: Bound, Imagine Me and You, and the Time-Life series on Home Repair.
    • A one-year membership to the Jennifer Lawrence Fan Club, renewable at a different fan club, as soon as we decide who’s next.
    • An AfterEllen user account with no avatar.
    • A self-help book on dealing with narcissistic personalities.
    • Two tickets to one of the following: Coachella, The Dinah, Outfest, or a Buffy the Vampire Slayer panel discussion.
    • Rachel Maddow glasses.
    • and This Check List, one poster-sized, one wallet-sized:

Stop obsessing and Ask. Her. Out.

Go find your chosen family. They’re waiting for you.

Never, ever settle. Settling is for lawyers and homesteaders. Know your worth.

There is nothing romantic about being poor.

Relationship non-starters: straight co-workers, platonic roommates, married friends, teachers, married teachers, friends’ exes. Did we mention straight co-workers?

You know that saying “Dance like nobody’s watching”? Yeah, don’t do that.

Lucy Hallowell: Some of us chose to pair coming out with a brand new haircut. For these people I would include a gift certificate to a hair salon where there are people who actually know how to cut hair because I promise, no matter how cute she is and how much you like her, if she doesn’t know how to cut hair it will not end well.  Take it from someone who knows, it takes a long time to grow out a bad haircut.  A really, really, long time.

Punky Starshine: When you come out, you should be assigned a mentor in your area. Someone who identifies the same as you, but came out a few years prior. Someone who could meet up with you in quaint, library-themed coffee shops and tell you all about the books, shows, movies, etc that she has discovered over the years. Someone you could call up sobbing when one of those books, shows, movies, etc breaks your heart and shatters your soul in the best way possible. Someone to tell you all the best fangirls to follow on twitter so you have a whole GROUP of people to commiserate with. Someone who will help you cover yourself in glitter for your first Pride Parade. Someone who will not only tell you where the best place to meet lady lovin’ ladies near you is, but who will go WITH you to these places until you have your own group of queer friends. In a perfect world, this mentor would also present you with a Gaydar Wristwatch with built-in Crazy Gauge, since goodness knows that would have saved me an awful lot of heartbreak/drama.

Trish Bendix: A good starter pack would include:

    • Melissa Etheridge‘s Yes I Am
    • The final season of Ellen on DVD
    • Before Stonewall and After Stonewall
    • The Price of Salt by Claire Morgan (aka Patricia Highsmith)
    • Different Daughters: A History of the Daughters of Bilitis (Marcia M. Gallo)
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Kim Hoffman: To celebrate coming out, I’d like to break open an ice-cold six-pack of Dos Equis (also known as The L Word beer) and invite you over to watch back-to-back episodes of—yes—The L Word. If you aren’t down with brew and/or are not of legal age, Jenny Schecter will be the first to tell you that soy milk is a sexy bev alternative. Next up, I’d encourage you to go home, hop on YouTube and watch the relevant and crucial Tegan and Sara onstage banter videos. These span over years, delves into crushes, puffy vests, training bras and feeling 19. And since we’re on a laughing train, the next best thing you can do is watch Liz Feldman’s stand-up comedy, or old web episodes of her show This Just Out. By the end of the week (or just a 48-hour-bender in which you’ve managed to cram all this in, decide to cut your hair, and have every song by the Murmurs downloaded), it will be time to graduate from elementary lez school to the final college exam: sit alone and watch High Art. If you make it to Sunday, we can sit in bed, eat a big, gay cake and discuss astrology with the help of the sassiest sapphic book, Herscopes: A Guide to Astrology for Lesbians by Charlene Lichtenstein.

Erika Star: A crystal ball. Not only for its obvious decorative nature, but also so she can gaze into the future wonders of choosing food delivery over sex, multiple pet adoption and the long-awaited Tegan and Sara Greatest Hits album, ComecloserGOAwayWANTMEYouneverwantedmeGOPLEASESTAY.

Dana Piccoli:

  • A list of movies to watch. (The ones with happy endings and sexy times.)
  • A list of movies not to watch. (To spare her the trauma I had to go through and any Claire of the Moon induced night terrors.)
  • A blank notebook. (For her to write down all the feels she can’t contain.)
  • A subscription to Match.com or the like.  (Hey, its the digital age y’all.)
  • A paper bag. (For those moments of euphoric crushing. Breathe gurl, breathe.)
  • A heart that never runs out of hope. (Hope is the most underrated feeling in the world.)
  • A mind that’s not afraid to ask questions and admit it’s desires. (Say how you feel, what feels right.)
  • A promise that she is not alone. (I promise, you are not alone).

Eboni Rafus-Verlezza: I concur with all that has been said before (especially The L Word box set and a copy of Herscopes), but I would add the following:

    • A link to the Mother Jones/AfterEllen Lezicon so they can understand terms and definitions and the difference between a beersexual and a hasbian.
    • A mixed CD that includes classics from k.d. Lang, Tracy Chapman and the Indigo Girls, as well as a sampling of songs from Brandi Carlile, Tegan and Sara and Le Tigre.
    • A collection of poems by Mae V. Cowdery and Angelina Grimke.

Nicole Shultz: I would assemble the following kit of guides to present to any new lesbian. I might even start selling this on Etsy.

    • Scissoring instructional guide with included support group card for those who fail.
    • Lesbian Slang 101. It is overwhelming when terms like gold star and pillow queen are thrown at you.
    • For Pros By Pros Bathroom Remodeling by Fine Homebuilding. Because you are now required to know how to install a toilet at a moments notice.
    • The HRC Buyer’s Guide. You do not want to anger other lesbians by patronizing a non-gay friendly corporation.

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What would you put in the welcome kit?

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