Sapphic-Held Spaces Created for and by Sapphic-Minded People

by Belle Townsend

Photo by Amber Lawrence

“It’s important that sapphic minded individuals have safe spaces, even if it’s just one day a month of saying, ‘Hey, we’re going to get together and meet each other,’” shared Lussi Brown Coffee Bar Owner, Sarah Brown. 

She continues, “There’s more than a handful of us. There’s a whole lot of us, and we come from different places. We each bring a lot to the table. Our community… it highlights there’s a lot of us here, and we have a lot of good to do – together.”

Brown, the co-founder of the coffee bar, is a sapphic person who seeks to foster an inclusive community that is “trans friendly, and not just for women who love women.” Brown continues, “We are here for each other, and we need support right now,” referencing the cultural attacks on the LGB(TQ+) community. 

Lexington Lez Night was started pre-COVID by Brown and friends as something of a “bar hop” to lesbian-owned businesses in downtown Lexington: Lussi Brown Coffee Bar, gay bar Crossings, and Sam’s Hot Dog Stand. Since the social restraints of COVID have loosened, Lez Night came back, and it has grown. Brown, “noticed a need for a queer space for women and a night to hone in on sapphic people.”

This started from Brown constantly being asked, “Where do you meet queer women in the city?” She repeatedly did not know how to answer. She realized the space did not exist, and she thought to herself, “Well, we have the power to do this. So, let’s make it happen.”

She reports that they had over 100 people in attendance at their last Lez Night event. In addition to Lez Night, Brown shares that she “has a tabling event every month for a queer organization or sapphic-owned business to show that there is something more to support or get involved in.”

Lussi Brown Coffee Bar initially opened in June of 2017, when Brown felt that,“As a queer person and someone that’s been involved in the community long before opening, I knew the importance of safe, queer spaces. The local queer community helped us become who we are. So as much as I want these things to happen, they only happen because the community wants it to happen. When the community shows up to our events, it is this cohesive thing that shows communal effort for queer, safe spaces,” Brown shares. 

Louisville native Fawn Wujick also shares about the need for a sort of sapphic gathering. Fawn and friends Sarah Havens and Elizabeth Jent were feeling nostalgic about lesbian bars that “used to be.” In an attempt to create that sense of community, they held their first event in April of 2021, where they had 30 attendees at their first Lesbian Tea Dance. Since then, they have used Facebook, business cards, and word of mouth to expand to over 1,500 Facebook members and an average attendance of 200 people. Attendees are from small towns and big cities in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, and others. 

Wujick shares that their goal for Lesbian Tea Dance was to “be able to offer a safe place for lesbians to meet at least once a month for 3 hours.” Despite “some ‘slack’ from gay men and 1 or 2 lesbians,” Wujick wants to remind folks that they just want “3 hours out of every month, and that is not a lot to ask for.”

On the growth of Lesbian Tea Dance, Wujick shares, “I personally have enjoyed seeing how happy the ladies are to have a space again. They are meeting new friends and reconnecting with ones from the past.” 

Wujick continues, “The event does not have a ‘clique’ feel to it, and the ladies are extremely welcoming to first timers.”

“It began as our vision, but it took the community of lesbians to make it what it is today. We wanted a safe space and a sense of community, and I believe we have arrived.”

With these two special spaces being held in Lexington and Louisville, there is a joint effort to cultivate inclusive spaces for queer, sapphic minded individuals to come together. Wujick shared that the community has coordinated to promote one another’s events and to coordinate the events to be on the second week of each month. During that week, you can find Lex Lez Night on Thursday in Lexington; Friday is Desert Hearts Club at Birdie & Vi’s in Louisville; Saturday you can attend the Lesbian Tea Dance in Louisville; Sunday is PickleBall for the Not So Straight in Louisville; and Lexington has Coffee Time hosted by Lesbians of Lexington and Beyond.