As a queer both women and blogger, Ive attended many events for lesbians.
But, there is something about theDinah Shore weekend in Palm Springs, California that just feels a little bit different than the others.
If youve been hiding in the closet for the last 20 years, Dinah Shore is the worlds largest lesbian event.
Its various kinds of like a music festival that breaks out at a pond party in the desert.
This year, from March 30 to April 3, Palm Springs will turn into lesbian springtime break.
Dinahs already stellar reputation was taken to the next level with solid is available in Showtimes “The L Word” and “The Real L Word.”
“The L Word” had a major impact on the development of millions of Millennial lesbians’ identities.
My first Dinah felt a little surreal.
I took the two-hour drive from Los Angeles to the Coachella Valley( yeah, that Coachella Valley) with one of my oldest friends, Bly from “Button and Blys Travel Show .”
We were both queer event veterans at that point, and I felt like I kind of knew what to expect when we reached the gilded gates of Lesbian Dream Land.
( Spoiler: I was 100 percentage clueless .)
I expected Dinah to be a bit like suburban Eastern coast parties that are filled with former D1 athletes doing pushup tournaments in between chugging pitchers of Bud Light.
Dinah is not that.
As we drove through the town of Palm Springs, I noticed a 60 -foot banner welcoming all the queer women.
It was impossible to miss, and it appeared somewhat out of place between souvenir stores and little locally owned businesses.
With a few Dinahs under my belt, I now realize that Palm Springs is Dinah.
But on the first journey, I recollect wondering how a quiet LGBT retirement community came to host the worlds most debaucherous lesbian event.
After some research, I came to understand a little bit about the community and the role that respectability politics played in the formation of Dinah.
Today, around 50 percentage of the residents of Palm Springs identify as LGBTQ +.
Many of them are older couples use the community as a retirement nest or a city escape from their busy careers.
But, there was a day when that was far from the truth.
Dinah Shores namesake was a Hollywood Golden Age singer and actress who went on to create a women golf tournament in what was bougie, rich, white Palm Springs, California.
During the ’5 0s and ’6 0s, Palm Springs was the getaway destination of the stars, and it was known for being prim, proper and very upper crust.
Today, Palm Springs is one of the gayest traveling destinations in the world.
The golf tournament was a popular destination for women with few athletic outlets.
Ive yet to consider a golf club at a modern Dinah party myself, but rumor has it the tournament is still a thing.
The California lesbians of the 1950 s and 1960 s loved the event because it was one of the few places where large groups of lesbians came together.
As a route to extend the impressions of community after the tournament, they started hurling lesbian parties and took on Dinah Shores name as a tongue-in-cheek lesbian identifier.
If a woman knew about Dinah Shore and could drop it into casual conversation, she might be gay.
Today, the name Dinah Shore is more closely associated with lesbian culture than “its with” golf or the actress.
In fact, the golf tournament dropped the name Dinah Shore a few years back because the name had become synonymous with lesbian spring break.
Apparently thats a branding issue for a mainstream event.
Today Dinah is one part chilling by the pool to the sound of DJ beats and two parts evening parties and concerts.
Dinahs founder Mariah Hanson has a knack for booking some of the biggest mainstream acts.
Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Iggy Azalea, Kesha and Meghan Trainor have all done concerts at Dinah just as they were get big.
But that hasnt always been the case.
In 2006, Hanson decided to lift the bar for fag womens events.
She envisaged Dinah as more than a lesbian pool party in the desert.
She wanted to build something that was both respected in the queer community and the mainstream world.
After years of unreturned bellows from mainstream music labels, she changed everything when the Pussycat Dolls agreed to perform at Dinah.
It was a financially brave move for a business girl, who had, by all accounts, a wildly successful annual event with a cult following.
Why did she try to fix something that wasnt broken?
She believed our community was just as deserving of high-quality production and amusement as homosexual men or straight folks.
Unfortunately, marketing for anything is targeted at queer girls is extremely difficult.
Advertisers and investors still refuse to believe that were a profitable demographic.
Its the old stereotype that queer girls dont spend money, but I merely dont believe it.
Can we sell out a bar every day of the week?
Maybe not, but there are aspects of our community that lead to solid business investments.
Mariah was one of the first promoters to see this, and several others are following in her footsteps including DJ Whitney Day.
Day is an international DJ, and lesbian event producers known for her legendary parties in NYC.
Day told VICE ,
I wanted to throw well-produced parties with diverse female talents in top-notch venues basically, events that are on par with what everyone else seems to have  We require great music, solid sound systems, and credible venuesnot just to feel’ safe, ’but because we deserve to have quality standards in our nightlife options.
She has a point.
When we lower the bar to just feeling safe at our own parties, were selling ourselves short.
Safety is a necessity, but it should be a given.
My 20 s were a blur that aimed up looks a lot like one giant, Brooklyn queer scene party.
I came of age at Whitney Days parties,attending P-Town Womens Weekend and celebrating Pride across the globe.
In my world, there have always been incredible faggot spaces, but thats not true for people who werent spoiled by the New York City queer community.
Sure, Dinah has a bunch of half-naked women binge drinking everywhere, but thats not really the appeal for me anymore.
There is just something about the crisp desert heat in Palm Springs( or maybe Bacardi-induced dehydration) that sets women around an entirely new element.
At last years Dinah, Bly and I got garmented for the white party before heading over to an invite-only media cocktail reception at Mariah Hansons house.
Dinah is a showcase for queer fashion, soI knew people would be hurling down in the style game.
I just wanted to make sure I didnt look out of place in a ocean of trendy LA lesbians.
But, I soon realise there are different pockets of communities at Dinah.
Mariahs cocktail party ended up being more like a grown-up and sexy industry party rather than a spring break-ish poolside sh* t show.
For some of the women Ive fulfilled over the years, Dinah represents different things, but the common theme is that Dinah is a place of community.
For some, it was the first time theyd ever been surrounded by fag women.
Its clear that both Dinah and Palm Springs have a very special meaning for our people.
I talked to a young woman from South Dakota who told me that shed just come out to her extended family and needed to feel like there were people like her in the world.
Dinah did that for her.
Another woman from the Deep South mentioned that the lesbians in her rural town are always exes, leaving her few options for seeing a partner to spend their own lives with, unless she left her hometown.
For her, Dinah meant the opportunity for love, but also for constructing the future she wanted.
In an intimate peek behind the history of Dinah Shore, Hanson shared with Huffington Post ,
For me, the lesson learned is how important it is when it comes to our dreams, to follow our instinct, even when the stakes are high.
I am a firm disciple that our internal compass always points North.
When we listen to that inner voice, despite the odds, despite health risks, despite the costs, and act when our intuition tells us our direction is right, we can’t go wrong.
If you havent been, this year, your compass should point you to Dinah Shore in Palm Springs.