Last week, my friend came up from Pennsylvania to Toronto to visit over the weekend for New Year’s. When I was in Pennsylvania last summer we tried to go to a gay club, which ended up closing the minute we walked up to the doors because it was a slow night. Don’t worry, I said. When you’re in Toronto, we’ll get you laid by a hot Torontonian babe.

That was, until we were sitting there in my apartment about to go for a night out and I realized I had no idea where the Torontonian queer ladies actually were.

Sure, you see them in brief, thrilling glimpses of plaid and Birkenstocks off Kensington or Queen Street West. You swipe past all these gorgeous girls on Her and Tinder and wonder if they’re actually real because you’ve never actually met up with them—just texted on-and-off for around two weeks before completely losing contact. But there just aren’t any lesbian clubs like there are gay clubs... Church Street is not really an option for women who love women.

I don’t want to come off as ungrateful in such a beautiful, open-minded city. I know that the issue isn’t really that queer women don’t exist in Toronto, because they do. They’re everywhere. But the fact that they’re everywhere means that they’re not really anywhere. While Pride and clubs like Crews & Tangos are still great places to be for gay people in general, for some reason, lesbian and bi women just don’t party the same way that gay boys do. Either they find their girl and disappear off the radar for months until the drunken breakup of she-said-she-said, or they just don’t go out at all. They’re too busy, too successful, too far, too content, too taken.

So what is a girl supposed to do? According to an article published by DailyXtra in March of last year, promoter Tania Morano says that lesbian bars are difficult to come by in any major city, so what to do instead are queer parties. We have monthly nights at several different clubs. That should be good, right? That’s enough queer women, right?

Except it just makes me sigh wistfully. Maybe I’m a little bit old-school, still eager to relive Toronto’s rich history of lesbian bars like Slack’s and Pope Joan because I was too young in the late ‘90s. Or maybe I’m waiting for a drag bar to pop up again with a king night with any sort of regularity, or longing to attend the kind of clubs in LA that have weekly parties and famous lesbians DJing. But parties feel like a temporary home — a traveling circus (I mean this in the best way, of course). What I childishly, irrationally wish for is just a bar where girls can be girls, just like the plethora of straight clubs all around, well, everywhere, or the still-bustling gay scene on Church Street.

What I ended up doing with my American friend was going to The Beaver, a(n ironically named) lesbian hang out near the Drake Hotel. And while there, in a space full of queer women, I managed to get the attention of the one straight guy who’d just wandered in and wouldn’t leave.

I know the queer scene in Toronto is at an all-time high, so I might just be by myself in feeling weird and temporarily stationed. Just writing these articles feels like a cry for help. But in a place as liberated as Toronto, and in a time as progressive as now, I wonder why I have to get used to feeling like queer women don’t have a home in the city.

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