I’m often frustrated by the lack of inclusive LGBTQ+ women’s spaces in Vermont and beyond. What I see and what feedback I receive is that there are not enough spaces specifically for LGBTQ+ women in Vermont – and the spaces that do exist are either closing or unable to sustain for a number of reasons. This is feedback that Pride Center of Vermont has also received from community so, in 2019, Taylor Small and I started the Glow program.

Glow is Pride Center of Vermont’s inclusive social program for LGBTQ+ women and community members who are women-aligned. We use the language ‘women-aligned’ to signal that Glow is also a program for people who identify outside of the gender binary (e.g. non-binary, gender fluid, agender, etc.) and who feel a connection to and/or alignment with LGBTQ+ women. Taylor and I have spent a lot of time considering how to make our spaces as inclusive as possible, while also holding on to our belief in the importance of affinity spaces, or spaces by and for specific identity groups. 

I know these conversations and struggles are not unique to Vermont, which is why I was so grateful that All We’ve Got filmmaker, Alexis Clements, reached out to the Pride Center proposing a documentary screening and panel discussion. Alexis’ documentary beautifully captures many of the conversations about LGBTQ+ women’s spaces that Taylor and I have had with each other and within community; All We’ve Got  explores these conversations about the desire for, the decline in, and the importance of cultivating the LGBTQ+ women’s spaces in communities from San Antonio, Texas to New York City, New York. 

If you are interested in watching the documentary, Pride Center is offering free viewings of the documentary through October 8th, 2020. More details can be found here

For Pride Week Alexis, along with local activists, Anne Charles and Catarina Campbell, joined Taylor and myself for a discussion about cultivating, creating, and transforming LGBTQ+ women’s spaces. In this round table discussion, we explored questions like: 

  • Why are we seeing a decline in LGBTQ+ women’s spaces?
  • What role does capitalism, white supremacy culture, transphobia, ableism play in this decline and how do we combat these as a community?
  • What do LGBTQ+ women’s spaces currently look like in Vermont?
  • What do we want these spaces to look like in the future? 

If you’re interested in the full conversation, a recording of the event can be found here:

There are so many juicy takeaways from the documentary and panel discussion, but I don’t want to spoil them here! I will share that one of my main takeaways from the documentary and the panel discussion is: if you want more LGBTQ+ women’s spaces and events, create them! You might not have the funds to start your own lesbian bar but there are so many other ways of getting creative that don’t require a significant amount of time and capital. As we learned from the documentary, community gathering can happen in public spaces, at someone’s home, and in collaboration with businesses that have the space you need. And you don’t have to do all this dreaming and scheming alone! Our Glow program is here to support you in turning your idea into a reality. If you have the desire to start your own LGBTQ+ women’s space but need resources, support, and extra brainstorming power, please reach out to Taylor or myself and we’d be happy to help in the ways that we can. 

That said, sometimes we don’t want to create a new space, we just want to enjoy the ones that already exist. Something else that I learned from the documentary is that, in all my grumbling about the lack of inclusive LGBTQ+ women’s spaces in Vermont, I often don’t take inventory of or appreciate the many spaces that do exist. I now have a greater appreciation of the amount of LGBTQ+ women’s spaces in Vermont and the fact that these spaces and events exist because our community has put the time, energy, and love into creating and cultivating them. So, if you’re interested in getting involved in spaces which already exist, here is a living list of all the different programs & places across the state dedicated to creating and cultivating spaces for LGBTQ+ women: 

LGBTQ+ Women’s Spaces, Groups, & Events in Vermont

Glow (Statewide) 

Glow is a social program through the Pride Center of Vermont for LGBTQ+ women and people who are women-aligned. Glow events are added to the Pride Center of Vermont calendar here. Questions? Send us an email at glow@pridecentervt.org 

Women’s Discussion Group (Central Vermont)

Discussion group for LGBTQ+ women who live in Central Vermont (the geographical constraints have expanded slightly since this group is currently virtual). People can learn more on the Facebook page Rainbow Umbrella of Central Vermont or can email the group organizer, Anne Charles, at womendiscuss@gmail.com 

Trans Femme Chill Space (Brattleboro) 

On the 2nd & 4th Thursday of the month from 7-9 pm, Out in the Open hosts Trans Femme Chill Space (currently virtual during the pandemic). Learn more about their events here 

HOWL (Huntington) 

Huntington Open Women’s Land (HOWL) is a ” non-profit organization held in perpetuity for all women, guided by a collective, nurtured by residents and rejuvenated by visitors, all the while striving to form an intentional community on the land”. HOWL welcomes overnight visitors and hosts a variety of events. To learn more about HOWL and their events, check out their website 

Babes (Bethel) 

Babes often hosts Women’s and LGBTQ+ Women’s events at their bar. Stay up-to-date on these events here 

Know of a program that isn’t included on this list? Email glow@pridecentervt.org and we’ll update the list!

*We want to thank Women Make Movies (WMM) and Alexis Clements for making this event possible. We would also like to thank guest panelists, Anne Charles and Catarina Campbell, for their time and activism in our state.