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Sapphic Seattle: A look inside the group bringing parties to the "girls, Gays, and theys"

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Photo courtesy of Sapphic Seattle
Photo courtesy of Sapphic Seattle

Just after Halloween weekend, a raspy voice-to-text reader sounded through my phone speaker. A group named @sapphicseattle on TikTok spookily asked, "Have you ever been to a WLW Halloween party?" The video, showing footage and photos of partying Queers in costume, was gaining traction and now has 91,900 views.

Slightly jealous interest sent me stalking their Instagram page. Scrolling through the trendy text posts and party pictures, I discovered that Sapphic Seattle is a volunteer-led community group for Queer women and sapphic people. They throw parties about once per month, and have been growing exponentially.

To learn more, I spoke with the group's core organizers, Hannah Balducci, Varsha Nandula, and Siobhan Fox. Balducci manages the uber-trendy social media for the group. She came up with the idea for sapphic-only party spaces in 2020, but had to table the idea until vaccinations rolled out and nightlife returned.

"My friends and I were planning a house party, and I thought it would be fun to advertise the party on Tinder," she said. "I told my matches we were throwing an all-Queer party, and while they were skeptical, about 50 or so came. It was a fun experience, so a few days later, I created the Instagram 'Sapphic Seattle.'"

She made engaging digital content about the meet-up, and the group quickly found some online traction. Comments on the group's videos are filled with interest — and longing. Simultaneously, word of mouth from her 50 Tinder matches and their Queer friends began to spread across Seattle from August to October.

Balducci's small friend group who supported her in bringing her idea to life were suddenly transformed into an organized posse of event-planning women who love women. They threw the TikTok-famous Halloween party next, and began to strategize their purpose in Seattle.

Photo courtesy of Sapphic Seattle  

"As a young Lesbian, I felt very starved for nightlife that was engaging and well matched for myself and my community," said Balducci. "I appreciate Wildrose deeply for being in the scene so long; however, it is disappointing that there are only 21 Lesbian-centered bars left in the Unites States. It seems like our spaces seem to be shrinking, despite our community growing. I really felt there was a need for energetic, welcoming parties for Queer women and sapphic people to connect with one another."

Organizers told me their mission is to build a safe, inclusive events group for Queer women and sapphic people across the gender spectrum to meet up casually. "[We're] giving sapphic folk an engaging nightlife space for them to meet potential partners, friends, or anything in between," said Fox.

"As a budding group, we've made it a point to gather contributors of diverse backgrounds to help us identify potential accessibility or inclusion concerns. We were excited to work with a BIPOC host on our last event, and are in communication with BIPOC organizations to work with in the future," the organizers said in an email.

They added that "everything is a learning process," and expressed that they will continue to adjust as they develop their expertise about Sapphic Seattle's audience.

While the young group continues to bring sapphic people together on a monthly basis, they are hoping to meet increasingly high demand. Their last event, the "Winter Workshop" party, sold out within hours of both the presale and general sale announcements.

Looking toward 2022, the organizers plan to be flexible in order to serve as large an audience as possible, said Fox. "We're considering more frequent events, larger events, or partnering with other groups to make sure everyone can come out and connect with their community."

"We are very open to partnerships," Balducci added enthusiastically. She said they are currently in conversation with a couple of businesses and venues. "Any bars, restaurants, clubs, or other entities that would like to sponsor or collaborate on our events are very welcome to reach out."

If you are a Queer woman or a Queer person who identifies as sapphic, the group hopes you'll follow along, either virtually or in person at an upcoming event. They are open to people of all ages and backgrounds — just not men!

Follow @sapphicseattle on Instagram and TikTok to learn more. For business or partnership inquiries, contact [email protected].