Contemplating Club Skirts’ The Dinah.
As a transplant, with feet that seem constantly on the verge of running, the concept of “home” is fluid; finding it in people and places, more memories, less geography or physical structures. As such home for me is the feeling of ease and comfort; of being without much effort or thought. It just “feels” right. A little over a year ago, I unknowingly clicked my heels twice and dared to go home. It was just a vacation really, but so much more.
After a brief stint in L.A, a pit stop on our way to the Promised Land, I found myself in Palm Springs, California. A city that seems to pop right out of the desert, as the mountains begin to make way for barren, greying, virgin lands. For a city of approx. 50,000, Palm Springs is surprisingly very gay and, and on this particular weekend in April, rainbows rain down from the heavens. I, and thousands upon thousands of other lesbians were trekking the country and globe to descend on this city for the annual Dinah Shore Weekend now in its 25th year.
What is Dinah Shore you ask? If you are not a lesbian who lived through The L Word, or The Real L Word, or have otherwise generally refrained from lesbian pop culture over the last 20-odd years, Dinah Shore is an annual 3-4 day lesbian extravaganza-party-celebration-get-together-be-who-you-wanna-be-party in the California desert. Or as its branded the “Largest Girl Party in the World”. There are pool parties, night parties, room parties, DJs, performances (Teagan & Sara, Iggy Azelia, and Eve all performed last year), movies, comedy, celesbians…you get the gist.
It is what the world would look like if it was lesbian. A city full of lesbians, a pool full of lesbians, a bar full of lesbians, an auditorium full of lesbians, entire hotels, restaurants, spaces, things, occupied by essentially nothing but lesbians. Everywhere you look there are lesbians, EVERYWHERE. And not just the lesbians you see at that bar, coffee shop, book club, knitting group, kitty day care, or gym, every week, and then decide to take a break from said places, while lamenting on the smallness of the lesbian community in your particular city/town/state/village. I am talking brand spanking new lesbians you have actually never met, seen, slept with or otherwise encountered!
Sure, there’s great parties, and gorgeous women clad in bikinis for most of the weekend, BUT that’s not the real gem to be found at Dinah. The draw, the appeal is something entirely different—it is the sense of belonging, and complete normalcy. Dinah’s intercontinental draw is not to be ignored either, with lesbians jetting in from across the world to be here for this one weekend, it gives you this global sense of community (I for one picked up an Australian accent in the California desert after spending a most marvelous wayward weekend with what I can only assume are the greatest Aussie’s you will ever meet. Hi Lou!). You can almost the envision all the dots connecting us all to each other, letting you know that you exist in so many other places and faces.
I went to the Dinah intent on peaking my longest spat of singledom, with a weekend of debauchery in the desert. Instead, I had a no-holds barred, homo-love-fest weekend with some of the most incredible, genuine, interesting, and outrageously funny women I shall have the chance to meet; some of whom I am now bound to a life long of memories with.
I cannot tell you how thrilling it is to discover the larger community that exists, and the possibilities it opens you up to. We are varied in presentation, being, and how we chose to identify with our sexual identity. We come in all shapes, sizes, colors, accents, hair colors, piercings, tattoos, height, age, nationalities… I don’t know that I have ever felt that liberated to be queer, to simply exist in nothing but queer spaces. Even pride, as gay as it gets, still happens through the gaze of the straight community; it us telling the world that we are here and proud, and out. Pride is a refusal to be silent. The Dinah (as it’s affectionately known) is an invitation to celebrate.
If you’re a lesbian, go to Dinah Shore, at least once in your life. After all you can’t throw the same party for 25 years straight without being on to something, right?
Happy 25th Dinah.