A few months ago, I sent this picture to a very dear friend.

It’s just a picture. An adult representation of a popular (and amazing!) children’s story, beloved the world over. Winnie the Pooh. You’ve probably heard of him. Maybe you read the stories as a child. Maybe you read them to your own children. Ultimately, the tales of Winnie the Pooh and his companions are about one thing. Love. A group of seemingly very different animals, with different characteristics and different goals are seen to band together and work in unison time and time again for one common cause. Love. They take risks to help others; fight monsters to save their friends; and overcome adversity over and over, all because they empathise with the struggles of those around them.

So I sent this picture to someone I love.. Her voice wasn’t croaky, it had given up altogether. She hadn’t been shouting at the world, but screaming, constantly, for years, with little success. Why? What was so important that she felt the need to be so vocal? What was she shouting for? You. And me. And all the women who are part of our community. All 16000 of us. You see, in order for our club to function and to remain a unique, safe and sacred space for a very niche and too often invisible group of women; we have to shout at the world. We have to fight for our right to exist. Over and over again. Until we have no voice left in us. I am learning to shout. I’m getting quite good at it. I have a great teacher.

Skirt Club is a special place. We cater for the women of the world who want to explore, be curious, and discover their sexuality in a special way. Without judgement or fear. Without shame or reprise. Our club is not a public space. We are custom designed. Tailor made. For women who have nowhere else to do the things they can do with us. We are the best at what we do because we know our members, and we know what they need. Firstly, that involves maintaining privacy. We don’t allow cameras or photography. Our locations are secret, often so much so that venues aren’t released until days before an event. Our members want to keep their private lives private, and we respect that. Secondly, comes showing empathy. Our members know who they are looking for. And we know those women are hard to find. Difficult to approach. Often, not visibly attracted to women. We understand that, so we lend a helping hand. Finally, comes creating connection. Real connection, in an authentic and genuine way. Our role is to guide, advise and reassure. Make introductions. Give that friendly nudge. You are not alone. There is nothing wrong with how you feel. Look around, all these women are just like you . Simple enough, right? So why is that so hard to understand? Why can’t that just be accepted? Why is it such an affront to so many?

Honestly, I am not totally sure. But my gut feeling is that marginalised groups within society have spent so long fighting for their own causes, that they become blinded to the plights of others. We are all trying so hard to carve a space for ourselves, that we jostle and fight to achieve that goal. The LGBT community is the most visible example of this. We at Skirt Club have been continuously accused of being non-inclusive, elitist and even shallow. All because our club is exclusively created for a very specific group of women. In other words, we are not a vegetarian restaurant. We are a BBQ buffet. So it is unlikely that even if we offered a vegetarian dish, that it would be any good. You wouldn’t enjoy it. So we encourage you to perhaps go to a vegetarian restaurant, and leave the meat eaters to enjoy their meal.

I think that just like with anything special or unique, everyone wants a piece of the action. Everyone wants to be a part of the elite. But we are not here for your entertainment. We don’t exist to satisfy a selfish urge to force your way into our inner sanctum. We are real women, with real needs, and real desires. And we want to be left alone. We want to be afforded the right to keep our space: our private, secret, special space just that. Secret. It is the only one we have, and we want to take care of it. Preserve it. Protect it.

So rather than barge into a restaurant that has nothing to offer you, perhaps consider existing in harmony. Understanding how difficult it can be to be recognised and heard. Remember how long it can take to be accepted into society. Whilst we represent the B in LGBT, things are not that simple. We are the small b. The invisible b. If you don’t identify as that, then I assure you, Skirt Club is not for you. It will not address your needs or desires. There are plenty of similar spaces that will, but this is not one of them. We are not exclusive, we are simply honest. We know who we are. I think that needs to be respected.

As a long time member and now as Managing Director, I have watched as Skirt Club has evolved over the years. I have seen the world change into becoming a more accepting and open minded place, championing equality for all. Yet even after seven years, I am still saddened to see how our community is treated. The world still doesn’t seem to understand, and the plight of the bicurious women still seems to fall on deaf ears. It is apparently still a difficult concept to stomach: a woman who wants to explore her desires for other women, regardless of her relationship status. A woman who wants to have it all. A woman who wants to do so privately. It is still not okay.

So for the first time in my life, words fail me. I cannot find the right ones to express my disappointment and sadness. I thought we had come further than this. I thought things were getting better. Clearly, I was mistaken. What a shame.

I don’t want to have to shout at the world. I don’t want to have to fight. But for some reason, it seems that Skirt Club will always have to. I hope I won’t be shouting alone.

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