From resort-style sunbathing during the day to grinding it out on the dance floor with the best DJs, all while rubbing elbows with the hottest women on Earth, Club Skirts The Dinah Shore Weekend has it all on lock.
Without question, The Dinah has been the ultimate, lesbian destination pool party long before the original L Word was on TV, and it continues to grow each and every year. As they enter their 30th year in production, The Dinah has expanded not only the concept of ladies-only events; it has become a must-attend for any female-identified queer person.
More than a weekend getaway under the sun, The Dinah is now a full-on, five-day music festival with big-name, live acts. The Dinah also hosts the Black and White Ball which brings the nation’s hottest DJs, and even includes a night of standup comedy. Not only is there something for everyone, but The Dinah embraces a model which creates a safe space for everyone.
Yet, the question remains: at a women-only event, how can every gender identity feel welcome?
“The Dinah has always been an inclusive event, primarily for women, but welcoming our non-female friends who support us and believe in the importance of our voices,” said Mariah Hanson, creator of Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend. “The Dinah welcomes all who identify as women and ask that all of our guests embrace inclusivity for everyone, all the time.”
As we shift conversation within the LGBTQ community and become more vocal about the spectrum of gender identity and expression, does a space like The Dinah create inclusion or exclusion for our nonbinary, gender-fluid, and nonconforming family? When an entire weekend is dedicated to a gender-specific space, does mandatory gendering prove more painful than intended?
The Dinah is rooted in feminism, as Hanson wanted to create a space where women could feel the freedom of expression amid community without fear. However, 30 years ago, when The Dinah held its first-ever lesbian party, it was built on a model of exclusivity. The specialness of what it was needed to be preserved, and through that, it has maintained its significance in the community.
When OUT FRONT spoke with Hanson last year just before The Dinah 2019, she emphasized the significance of community and how the power lies in how women inspire one another.
“Connection is vital to our personal growth, and The Dinah offers such amazing connections to other people. It reminds us of how much we really have in common, so much more than our differences, and it reminds us that kindness is contagious,” she said.
Having worked toward three decades in crafting and preserving the safety of The Dinah’s mission, the needle is to be shifted again, as the need for queer spaces that are truly inclusive is rapidly growing. Connection, engagement, and entertainment—that’s what makes The Dinah so special.
“We believe that everything is everything, and to act otherwise reduces the strength of our message. We cannot be inclusive to all women here, but not there. So, we work to protect the women-identified space while making room for those who love us and support our need to have the strongest voices possible.”
As of the time of press, The Dinah was still honoring the original date of execution. However, since the mandatory closure of all major events due to COVID-19, The Dinah has rescheduled for September.
*Photos by Molly Adams