The social scene for queer women in Melbourne has been dire for quite some time, but a new party is looking set to change that.
Matthew Wade caught up the creator of TOMBOY, Renee Russo, to chat about why queer women (and their respectful friends) deserve more spaces to be themselves.
What is the queer social scene like for women in Melbourne?
It’s pretty dire, doll. There are just a handful of lesbian events left: Friyay at Francesca’s Bar, Sundaylicious, Gang Meow, and a new monthly party on the south side. I think that’s about it… there’s certainly room for more booty shakin’.
I’ve been in the Melbourne queer community for eight years now, and it’s changed drastically in the last six. The women’s space has gone really quiet. There used to be actual lesbian bars and shit loads of drag kings.
I think the change is due to a few reasons. Our events are becoming more inclusive (which is fab) but gay men seem to socialise and earn more and therefore the events end up being predominantly filled with gay men. Lot’s of our community have settled down or if they are single and dating, they’re using apps and meeting one on one. It all happened really gradually.
Is this what motivated you to create TOMBOY?
Absolutely. Also, everyone’s over putting time and energy into online interactions when IRL (in real life) connection is what we’re all really looking for.
Why are safe social spaces like this important for queer women?
Unfortunately women don’t have the luxury of feeling safe in all social spaces. lesbian, bisexual and queer women are often fetishised for their sexuality. Trans people experience issues around ridiculous things like needing to use the bathroom.
I want queer women (and their respectful friends) to feel empowered and safe to be themselves at TOMBOY without feeling like a spectacle or someone else’s entertainment… unless they enjoy being a spectacle, of course *winky face emoji*. TOMBOY is an event for women of all ages and gender expressions, everyone is sexy.
What can you tell us about the event?
You can expect free monthly parties during the warm months excluding December. TOMBOY kicks off at a sociable, sunny 3pm, so the nanas can come early and be home in bed early, but the party goes on until midnight.
The energy will start off sexy and smooth with DJ Darls. When the sun goes down our go-go dancers will drop it low to R&B and hip-hop newbies and classics. The night will finish off with the handsome, Irish DJ Babalou, who will make the girls as wet as her homeland *smirk face emoji*.
Is the event open to the broader LGBTI community, or is it a women-only space?
This space is certainly being created as a free space for anyone who identifies as a TOMBOY or a queer woman. Friends of such babes are welcome, but any kind of inappropriate behaviour won’t be tolerated.
Are you hoping to help rebuild Melbourne’s queer social scene for women?
I think that all of the current women’s events are certainly attempting to do so which is rad, so MORE OF THIS! Get your gang together, I’m looking forward to seeing you babes.
TOMBOY will launch at The Carlton Club on Sunday 28 October at 3pm. For more information, check out TOMBOY on Facebook: www.facebook.com/TomboyPartyMelbourne