There's a brand new school club in town calling all LGBTQIA+ people who fall under the sapphic and women loving women umbrella: Lavender Menace.
The club meets every other Thursday in different locations, usually posted on their Instagram, @ou_lavendermenace, at 6 p.m. and allows members to share activities such as craft nights, games nights and PowerPoint nights while being able to be themselves in a welcoming environment.
Ariel Williams, a freshman studying plant biology and co-social media manager for the club, said the purpose of the organization was to create a safe and welcoming space for women loving women, or WLW, on campus.
“There’s obviously LGBTQ+ organizations, but we wanted a space specifically for sapphic-identifying individuals and women loving women so that they feel safe in a community that was made for them,” she said.
Williams said she started making flyers before the club started and was later asked to work on the executive board in order to keep spreading the word.
She said the sapphic and WLW umbrella often holds a different connotation than intended, so the club works in order to defeat these often-hurtful stereotypes.
“People, when they think sapphic or women loving women, they automatically sexualize it,” she said. “So we definitely want a place to un-sexualize it and create a safe and loving community for everybody.”
Emily Moores, a junior studying film and Lavender Menace’s vice president, said this was a club that they had wanted to create since their sophomore year of high school. They said they have been planning this with the club’s president, Chansie Kimberly, who is a longtime friend of Moores’.
“We finally wanted to take the initiative to start the club because we had been in overall big queer clubs and we just felt like having a space just for sapphics could be comforting and more open especially for people who are closeted and want a nice, cozy, smaller place,” they said.
Moores said their favorite memory of the club was the pleasant surprise of not really knowing how many people would show up. After months of work in order to spread the word and having to switch rooms due to an unanticipated amount of people coming to the first meeting.
They said a few days later, a few members even went to Donkey Coffee, 17 W. Washington St., in order to hang out and spend time together.
“It made me feel really warm and fuzzy inside to help connect people, especially in a space like college, especially for freshmen or transfers who haven't really found their space yet,” they said.
Moores said the club was open to anyone and everyone fitting under the umbrella and wanting to join.
“We accept everyone and anyone under the label,” they said. “So it's trans-inclusive, people of color-inclusive and it's just a place for everyone and especially people freshly out of the closet to really get a sense of community and confidence in their identity.”
Lavender Menace is a term most commonly associated with the radical intersectional feminist group of the same name from the ‘70s. The group was instrumental in ensuring sapphic and WLW people as an important part of women’s liberation. Cadee Bowen, a freshman studying psychology and women’s, gender and sexuality studies, really enjoyed the term “lavender menace” and has loved being a part of the club this semester.
“It just feels really good to connect with other people who are like me,” Bowen said.
Bowen really enjoys the inclusivity of the club and how easy it was to hang out with people in the club outside of the normal meeting hours. This includes the occasion when a couple of them were able to go thrifting together, which was a really memorable experience.
Bowen said it was very important for Ohio University to have a club like Lavender Menace in order to support all of its students’ needs.
“It's important for representation and inclusivity and to just let people know that they belong,” Bowen said.