One of the most discussed additions to the local LGBTQ + nightlife scene, which emerged during the pandemic era, is Sapphic Seattle, a group that organizes events aimed at allocating space for young people who identify as lesbians, queer women, trans or nonbinary.
Founded by Hanna Balducci, looking for ways to connect with other amazing women, the group got its name from Sappho, an ancient Greek poet from the island of Lesbos who was known for writing romantic poems to women.
The term “Sapphic” focuses on orientation or attractiveness rather than gender, says the group’s founder. People who come to Sepphic Seattle events can identify themselves as lesbians, queers, bisexuals or pansexuals or simply as “Sapphics”.
“There is a need for queer women and sapphire-oriented spaces,” said Hannah Balducci. “You have this huge vacuum.”
In recent years, the number of lesbian nightclubs in the country has declined tremendously. According to Lesbian Bar Projectthere are only 21 lesbian bars left in the US, three of them on the West Coast, one of which is Seattle’s Wildrose.
“So many women are portrayed as bisexuals, lesbians, queers, and it’s a dichotomy – why is the community growing when these spaces are shrinking?” Balducci says.
Thus, in May 2021, after the COVID-19 vaccine became available to most, BaDecided lducci create a new way out to help queer women get to know each other.
“I had a lot of accounts in the dating app, and I just ran my finger over everyone and said, ‘Party!’ Submit [a photo of] your vaccination card in exchange for an address. Come on! ” said Balducci, who has since engaged staff from Shiaban Fox, Warsaw Nandula and Eva Matsen to help organize the event.
What started as a do-it-yourself home party with about 30 attendees quickly gained popularity through word-of-mouth and social media. They experimented with venues by organizing a beach event in Karkik Park and another at the amazing women of Mose Auto in Georgetown, and quickly realized that they were growing so fast that “home [party] will not work if there are 200 to 300 people, ”Balducci said.
So, after a two-month vacation earlier this year due to a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in King County, Sapphic Seattle held its first event at Supernova, a 6,500-square-foot Sodo club for 600 people known for its exquisite and exciting experiences. , and an intergalactic disco theme that includes a giant spinning Pegasus, a disco ball, a DJ booth, go-go dancers and confetti guns. Although Supernova is not owned by an LGBTQ + representative, it has a reputation for improving queer talents, and owner Zach Levine has helped Sapphic Seattle organizers successfully expand their previously intimate activities.
Levin “was kind of a teacher,” Fox said. “Every time we deal with things we don’t know how to handle, we just give advice on how to do business and nightlife in Seattle.”
“We kind of missed 50 steps,” Balducci said. “There were a lot of venues we could do between them, but we kind of went from smaller events to these mass parties. We have three DJs, we have aerial performers, we have pylon dancers, we have a presenter. The cost of production is very high. ”
Sapphic Seattle requires vaccination evidence to attend all events and encourages participants to use Washington state contact tracking tools. At the entrance to the Sapphic Seattle event, participants are given a choice of bracelets. Pink means a person is open to flirting. Yellow means you are only looking for friends. At Supernova, guests walk through the Infinity Hall of Mirrors into a crowded club with aerial performers, pole dancers, several DJs spinning pop and hip hop, and a presenter who helps icebreakers and start conversations. The organizers want everyone present to feel wanted, whether they come alone, in pairs or in a group. The idea is to create a safer space for flirting and dancing where consent is a priority.
The whole amazing Sapphic team works exclusively with awesome talent and performers, setting priorities Black, indigenous and colored people dancers, DJs and artists. Recent lineups included DJs KWEEN KAYSH, MIXX America and Hershe; host Shade Simone; and dancers Onyx Wolf, Harley B and Lavender Sinclair.
But what they have built is not just about the parties. Simple year since its inception, Sapphic Seattle has considered itself a community creator and content creator, as well as an event organizer. The group’s Instagram, TikTok and Facebook accounts have attracted thousands of subscribers, especially TikTok, which has more than 45,000 subscribers as of June 1. They organized various events, including virtual speed dating and even organized a server minecraft. They also saw the birth of a network of book clubs, group chats and Discord channels, whose residents met and got acquainted through Sapphic Seattle events.
“It gave me a sense of belonging to the queer community and gave me the opportunity to be the funniest self,” said Kay Jay Ann, a queer woman from Asia and the Pacific from Hawaii who has participated in numerous Sapphic Seattle events. “The sapphic events have really given us the strength and permission to explore those parts of ourselves that many of us have said before.”
Sapphic’s activities attract people from Canada and the Midwest because “there are so few places for queer women and sapphics in these areas that many are willing to travel,” Balducci says. “People come from Oregon, they come from Vancouver [B.C.]. They stay at Airbnbs to go to events. People really want to have something special for their community. ”
Correction: In a previous version of this story, Hannah Balducci was mentioned as a co-founder of Sapphic Seattle and claimed the organization was operating for a second year. She is the sole founder of the organization, and Sapphic Seattle is 1 year old.