“Do you have to sleep with a woman to be a lesbian?”

“Is there a lesbian scene in Sydney and are you comfortable in it?”

“God – does she really hate gays or is he really pleased to meet us?”

These are just some of the topics discussed at Lesbian Open House, a discussion group which meets every week in Newtown.

Open House bills itself as a free, informal discussion group open to all who identify as lesbian, bisexual, transgender, asexual or just don’t know.

It’s ideal for women just coming out or who have been out for a while but might have lost their network of friends through shifting or a relationship breakup. Ideal too for those who don’t think they are “proper” lesbians, i.e. they might have been or are married.

The meeting lasts for an hour starting with introductions and then the discussion topic for the evening. The topic is passed around and you may talk on it or just listen. The meeting winds up with a mention of any events/venues/shows that are coming up. Then it’s off for a coffee or drink at a nearby hotel.

A weekly email newsletter called The Loop goes out to around 250 past and present Open House attendees keeping them up to date with discussion topics and upcoming events.

Normally around 20 women attend each meeting with ages ranging from late teens to late 60s and from all sorts of backgrounds – this absolute mix contributes enormously to the diversity and interest of the group.

Open House has been running in Sydney for the last seven years and down in Melbourne for around 40 years. Both groups are run by a passionate bunch of volunteers who believe there should be better ways of making friendships than spending every Saturday night in a dark bar shouting to make yourself heard.

Meetings are every Tuesday at 7pm at the Women’s Library at 8 Brown St, Newtown (just behind the public library). For more information phone 9699 3027 or email [email protected] or just turn up.

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