There’s Undoubtedly An Isle Of Lesbos, And Contains A Fantastic Sapphic Festival

Whenever I moved from the advisor in Skala Eressos — limited beachside area on Greek area of
, in which Sappho Women’s Festival has run for the last 19 decades — I rolled my personal suitcase past an elderly Greek guy.

With a couple of meters between you, I heard him catcall with this painfully annoying pursed-lip sound that males make to obtain a female’s interest. We turned around, incensed that I would come all the way to bloody Lesbos — the ancestral residence of lesbian-kind therefore the base of the term “lesbian” — and dudes were still treating me personally like an inferior staying. I was prepared for fight until We realized the Greek man was bent over, hand outstretched, phoning an actual cat.

This set the tone throughout the excursion. Skala Eressos is actually an urban area where women rule, and where
90 % of website visitors
are lesbians. (there are numerous guys, but they are respectful and available.) I’d inserted Sapphic utopia.

In the fourteen days of Sappho ladies’ Festival, queer ladies roamed around in teams, in sets, as well as on their particular, undertaking chilled-out beachy things. I experiencedn’t recognized exactly how much We linked coastline holidays with heterosexuality until I caught a glimpse of a lesbian couple ingesting meal. Of the many seaside journeys I would been on in my entire life, this is the 1st time I’d viewed two lesbians eating with each other because they toasted the end of the day at sunset.

Queer females had been every where, as well as those two weeks, it just believed regular, typical. At long last, I wasn’t the sole lesbian in the restaurant or among three at the office; everyone was just like me. At Sappho, the couple cradling from inside the water is actually queer, people examining you out tend to be lesbians, the individual welcoming you ’round for a sunset beverage is homosexual while the day is actually long — as will be the females artwork by the harbor. Discover queer women reading tarot cards, queer bartenders shaking cocktails, and a post-nap lesbian stretching like a baby dog regarding the coastline.

It was very affirming and calm to be in the majority — maybe not for per night or a conference, but for lengthy, drawn-out blissful days. There were hundreds of us, therefore were one large, away, noisy and pleased lesbian family members.

Lesbian Watch

If you should be heading to Sappho and looking to find some work accomplished, I’d scratch that strategy right here and from now on. Every beachside taverna


like an idyllic getaway work spot. They truly are all quintessentially Greek, with white lumber and navy cushions, plus small gay flags flailing during the sea-breeze. They create Greek salads, soft yogurt, and freddo cappuccinos (iced lattes but much better) all the time.

Nevertheless power to job is defeated by a couple of things. First, the sun’s rays. It increases, ventures throughout the sky, then glistens over the unlimited sea. Because it comes, it attracts the azure from the air and turns it into a portrait of oranges, pinks, and lilacs. Its a masterpiece — and it’s extremely difficult to stare at a Word document while all this is being conducted.

Next, and somewhat less deep: lesbians tend to be fascinating. They congregate during the mornings and talk with groups of friends, both new and old. They discuss everything from the excitement they hit throughout the dance flooring yesterday towards silicone polymer earplugs they committed to because their freshly unmarried roommate is investing in the hedonism of area existence.

Over this though, they discuss their own passions, their jobs, in addition to game-changing work they truly are doing in the world. They speak of the jobs they will have launched at the refugee camp in Moria (a few hours out by automobile). They discuss about it self-sustaining society live, the documentaries they’ve generated, the publications they have published, the events they will have curated, people they will have empowered, and the work they’re performing with CEOs to raise the consciousness of these businesses.

Normally sensible, strong women who take this earth to help make a positive change as well as on this island to get in touch with other people like all of them. Every single day, I’d gladly close my laptop computer and try to let these exchanges clean over and inspire myself.

Sappho’s Rock

Today, i understand what you are thinking: Isn’t this all a little stress-inducing? Like residing on globe L Word or being stuck in only a little lesbian snow world? You dykes seem to have enough anxiousness taking walks into a lesbian bar inside our night finery, not to mention prancing around in a bikini enclosed by all of our kin.

Luckily, the event — therefore the Aegean water — does a good task at mellowing and leveling folks away. Each and every morning at 10:30 a.m., a few hundred women swam 400 meters from the shore to Sappho’s stone. Herded by a kayak bearing a rainbow banner, ladies of any age (the majority of festivalgoers tend to be over 40 — earlier ladies are positively in which it is at though,


) with differing swimming capabilities made their unique strategy to the stone. Some operated forward, while others grappled with swimming noodles; all relocated at their particular speed through sleek crystalline seas.

Whenever we reached the rock, some ladies scaled to the top, but most lounged at the base. Citizens were putting on wetsuits, elegant one-pieces, mismatched bikinis, absolutely nothing, snorkels — one individual had a unicorn horn on over her goggles. Females of shapes and plus size chat and laughed without preoccupations. Patriarchal judgments or standards don’t occur on Sappho’s stone; we had been only a lot of ladies in our perfect, basking under the sun.

As we swam back, a lesbian bar labeled as Budda club sat at the coast filled up with brunching on-lookers. Quickly aware of an audience, we psyched me to exit water smoothly, nevertheless the gravel happened to be like quicksand. I’d get one step, sink down, and leap ahead on all fours. It absolutely was hilarious and absurd. There clearly wasn’t an ounce of grace between all of us once we presented one another up and plowed our very own way-out, some actually shuffling backwards in flippers. We had been all united within shore-side battle; nobody cared how they looked or who was simply evaluating them.


We tended not to see some of the stone dance club women for the remainder of the day. I enjoyed investing my personal times alone, working (


, eavesdropping on energy dykes) in cafés, paying attention to Greek females cackling hysterically during an afternoon plunge, roaming over the coastline, choosing lengthy walks, and having massage treatments within the village. Occasionally I played within the lesbian volleyball contest, decided to go to panel discussions, watched a tug-of-war opposition, sat in a bunch meditation, got an author’s workshop (with recommended author Diana Souhami), or decided to go to yoga with Natasha (that is an incredibly skilled yogi. People who’d already been practicing for thirty years explained they’d never ever experienced a teacher like the lady, so when we saw a brittle, much-older girl started to class each and every day and watched exactly how she did actually evolve, elevate, and lighten after each program, we understood this to be real).

I then’d grab a gyro for a couple euros, sit on a workbench, and see the sundown. Three elderly ladies would lay on a neighboring bench, having to pay honor for the sight while feverishly speaking about circumstances in Greek.

Opportunity performed strange situations in Lesbos. The occasions folded by effortlessly, but by the time I left, it felt like I would spent seven many years thereon island. Though we theoretically performed very little, it decided I’d done so a lot. I made these powerful associations and had such essential cross-generational, cross-national talks regarding the patriarchy, queerness, and womanhood. It felt like the location had been doing the work for me personally — all I’d accomplish was take a seat on a bench and eat falafel.

Once the evening arrived, stars erupted across the cloudless sky, that is certainly when it was actually time to reunite using the ladies I would swam thereupon morning.


We discuss lifestyle for an income, but I never ever experienced the things I performed regarding the dance-floors of Skala. Every night, the three beachside lesbian pubs (Flamingo, Belle Ville, Budda pub) erupted into hives of female electricity. An exceptional line-up of DJs (RPXX, Ritu, Chroma, Bo Monde, Wendy, Promiss, Brenda, Nicky Drummond) played mixes I would hardly ever heard, weaving collectively different decades of music, comprising styles from disco to trance. All the while, the sea lapped and crashed from the shore, adding another layer to the beat.

Usually, a little band of ladies started moving around the decks, then one or two a lot more joined, and a few more then until the beat enveloped your whole room like a blooming flower. There seemed to be no bother about becoming a beneficial dancer or perhaps not, because there had been no judgment — just men and women loosening up, feeling every beat, and floating in liberty of mind and body. This liberation developed a force-field. We were impenetrable. There have been men and women all around us, guys who’d visited enjoy the lesbians dancing, nonetheless couldn’t enter our very own area, our very own feeling, our very own ecstasy. Each night, individuals had gotten more connected, party moves became bolder, and inhibitions turned into a distant memory space. Females used space thereon dance-floor like I’d not witnessed before.

It’s worth observing there had been no party medications during the event. Individuals positively enjoyed for, plus some enjoyed a spliff, a coffee or a container . In just this, individuals were travelling in a euphoric, elevated condition. The 70-year-old girl I swam to Sappho’s Rock with this morning was actually tearing it on dance-floor at 2:30 a.m. At 3 a.m., she endured along with the rest folks, itching for an after-party like we’d been swallowing products forever.

To close off certainly their unique sets, DJ Bo Monde and DJ Promiss played “No origins” by Alice Merton  (combined correctly with Faithless’ sleeplessness). While the track unfolded, we quit and appeared about. We watched as women throughout the entire world danced together. Women that’ve had youngsters, been discharged, already been straight, already been nomadic, already been youthful, been lost, already been closeted, already been married. Women who’ve seen so many people, been to so many spots. And they were all indeed there after that, moving with the terms, “I’ve had gotten no origins, but my personal house was never on the floor.” I realized, where second, this magical place is where the wild females visited discover their roots.

Ladies Area

Collectively group of men and women, there are particular folks who should not end up being a good area of the team. At Sappho, there were limited a small number of people that couldn’t respect trans men and women and exactly who problematized all guys. There were occasions when the vitality into the bar was excessive — individuals were achieving this type of delight — but still, some one thought the necessity to ignore this to make a spectacle of someone who’d had leading surgery or select a fight with a guy seated peacefully on excrement sipping an after-work beer. They spoke as if we weren’t


queer, so when if changing patriarchal oppression with matriarchal oppression would solve anything.

However these citizens were most definitely when you look at the minority. The collective gave small weight in their eyes. Sappho’s organizers tend to be trans-inclusive, and that I made friends with trans women who’ve already been visiting the event for more than a decade.

Since the functions drew to a close a short while before sunrise, the music switched off together with only audio had been the sea surging onto the shore. I’d accepted my dance-floor pals and oriented to my apartment, a two-minute walk away. Everyone else at Sappho remains in resorts, apartments, or tents near the coastline or maybe more up to the town. We had been all close — within hiking length to each other. A community, but not claustrophobically very. We might spend all of our evenings together on the dance-floor, subsequently invest the days alone, recharging for your evening’s inevitable frivolities.

Regardless of nightlife, the event had a complete system of enjoyment, from lesbian film screenings to opera shows courtesy of the English National Opera’s Nadine Benjamin (my personal terms won’t serve, thus pay attention to
). There seemed to be also the choice Fashion Show, Drag Kings of Eressos, and live songs through the loves of S.W.I.M, and Rainbow ladies (a Californian band with razor sharp wit, feminist politics and vocals). Then, for those eager, the time had come to go back to the dance-floor.


The ambiguity between friendships and intimate interactions is a really essential section of Sappho Women’s Festival and an extremely wonderful experience for lesbians, inside my very humble view. Typically, mathematically, you’ll findn’t a lot of queer women around for all of us to want and flirt with. At event, you will be attracted to one individual each day, another that afternoon, and somebody else regarding the dance-floor that evening. The next thing you understand, you’ve been on island for just two times, you have seven crushes, and from now on they may be all chilling out in identical bar.

Everyone else dabbles in polyamory (wittingly or otherwise not) at Sappho. The lady you fell so in love with on first night has grown to be shacking up with the neighbor. The person you moved paddle-boarding with in the mid-day is currently moving with all the individual you’ve been flirting with since the advisor ride in. Anyone you slept with yesterday has a romantic-looking cocktail making use of lady whom helps to keep telling you she is remaining in place 8. By some miracle, this isn’t demanding; individuals are going with the stream. Openness, dialogue, and honesty are fundamental and unavoidable, because why don’t we be genuine, island lesbians like news. You should be honest regarding the hot lady summertime to be able to end jealousies and insecurities from flaring up and avoiding things from obtaining dirty. The event unintentionally doubles right up as a training surface for lesbian polyamorous community residing — or maybe which is merely wishful considering to my component.


Leaving was difficult — very difficult. I knew as soon as I settled in that i mightnot need commit. On closing Saturday, we viewed ladies from all around society embrace both with such strength. We would experienced so much collectively. I saw lovers prised apart, relationships (physically) split up, consuming contacts, yoga friends, neighbors — each one of these lifelong associations made rapidly, plucked apart for another eleven several months.

We decided a kitten who’d already been grabbed by scruff from the throat, placed in a basket, and taken away from my people, my destination, my Sapphic utopia. I nearly cried as you’re watching a team of Israelis state goodbye before someone came up to me to say: “they are going to see one another on Monday.”

When I stood in Mytilene Airport wondering the way I’d readjust your away from this lesbian utopia, we consoled myself personally because of the expertise that I would be back next year and each and every season from then on. We realized I’d grown into a better lesbian: a more powerful person who’s more touching my personal womanhood and my personal queerness, enriched from the knowledge, experiences, and insights of my elders. With my head presented high and arms pushed back (approved, that may be all pilates), I happened to be ready to float returning to environment making it a less patriarchal, much more unified, mindful, queerer place. We travelled far from that area, a beaming look to my face, Sapphic miracle surging through my personal spine.

Sappho Women’s Festival, Sep 5th-19th 2020,