Spurred by recent events at places I’ve particularly enjoyed my time, like Comet Ping Pong, and the places where fellow queers and dreamers enjoyed theirs, like the Ghost Ship in Oakland, I’ve found myself questioning if there’s anywhere we can go anymore. It seems like every day, there’s a new tragedy which permeates our increasingly connected communities and remind us of our fragility.
At a time when we feel empowered, we are suddenly left feeling shell shocked.
It’s important to acknowledge our safe havens, but we need to treasure them and not take them for granted. As we saw in Oakland over the weekend, the places where we feel most at home can become our nightmare. The same with Pulse in Orlando. The same with a gunman entering the door of your favorite pizza parlor.
Cherishing our safe spaces, now more than ever, feels like the right thing to do.
So, needless to say, I found myself walking into a new place this weekend where I found some solace and comfort. I was invited out to a party called Femme Fatale. The name rung a bell: I remembered asking a partygoer at The Coven where she got this real neat jacket and she said she had purchased it at a Femme Fatale event. The invitation was intriguing.
Femme Fatale is a party which pops up in already existing spaces to provide a safe space for the women of the DMV. Specifically created to curate a healthy network for womyn, a place where female identifying individuals can feel at home, Femme Fatale has been going strong for a couple months now.
It helped that the event was being hosted at a familiar venue: this month’s party was at Big Chief in the Ivy City district, a bar which houses an incredibly inclusive space called the IVy Project. So the vibe was warm, familiar, and comfortable. The event, which was “Winter Wonderland” themed featured some of the city’s most forward thinking industry professionals and a diverse crowd of women from throughout D.C.’s various social circles. It was a great opportunity to meet new people and build relationships.
So, in true Kate fashion, I found myself eating alone at the bar for a bit.
Easing into the night and trying to find a good balance of social energy, I opted for a fried chicken sandwich with pimento cheese and tartar sauce – a decision that definitely perked me up.
While I was indulging in my anti-social food porn session, two girls reached out and said hi to me at the bar. As it was a womyn’s networking event for God’s sake, I never would have anticipated it. Turns out I knew one of the girls. We had met through a mutual friend in the music industry. She was an up and coming female DJ in the city and it was nice, honestly, to be able to connect.
That was the connective tissue for me. Femme Fatale is about making women comfortable and getting them to engage. By connecting and spending quality time in a cozy space, with good food, drink, and entertainment, it strengthens the network and builds more interpersonal relationships with one another. Everyone was friendly and the vibe was sexy and safe. Everyone expressing their femininity in a way which felt protected. There were art installations that created an air of excitement, class, and enabled people to be invested in the environment.
And what made it even better? It didn’t feel forced. It all felt very smooth and natural and pleasant.
Again, the past few days have been a bit of a doozy for me. Without going to the Femme Fatale party, however, I may not have had the small inkling of hope I have now. Even though our safe spaces in the last week have felt threatened, it’s nice to know there’s more people willing to extend the comfort of their space. It brings some peace at a time where so many are feeling hurt or confused or malaise.
Here’s the thing. D.C. has a lot of places we can make our own. There are so many small business owners who believe in crafting a place for us to celebrate individuality and community. Places like Big Chief have routinely demonstrated an appreciation for the diversity that the queer, artsy, non-white, and just all around decent circles making moves in our city.
Every city has a plethora of spaces interested in making us feel at home; we just need to seek them out and support them.
It’s important to champion the necessity of safe spaces. It’s important to party and to believe in diversity, art, and your local scene. It’s important to extend good vibes just for the sake of making positivity a thing. It’s important to thank the countless business owners who make an attempt to present their spaces as a place of support and comfort to our community. So despite the recent tragedies we’ve seen, I think it’s important to hold our heads high, come together and console our peers, and try our best to move forward. Make people feel welcome. After all, we only have a short amount of time here on Earth – let’s cherish it, right?