Meeting other women
How do I meet other lesbian and bisexual women?
This must be one of the most common queries we get at LGBT Foundation! Whether you want to meet others for love, sex, friendship or a combination of all three, it can be difficult to meet other lesbian and bisexual women, particularly if you are coming out, new to the area or just a bit shy.
Whilst we can't tell you the magic trick to meet women you like, we can give you a few ideas:
Social, support & sports groups
Joining a group is a great way to meet like-minded women and we're really lucky in Manchester to have a wide range of social, support and networking groups for all ages, interests and backgrounds.
LGBT Foundation has three social and support groups - Bloomers for older women and Carousel and Stepping Stones for women of all ages. We also host a Women's Reading Group for LGBT women. Sign up to our Meetup group to keep up to date with the groups and events we have planned - you can even plan your own Meetups! And subscribe to our monthly women's e-bulletin to get full listings of what's happening for lesbian and bisexual women in and around Manchester.
As well as the groups that LGBT Foundation host, there are many other groups meeting across the Manchester area. Some of these meet in our building. You can find a list of all the local groups for lesbian and bisexual women on our Useful Links page or give us a call on 0345 3 30 30 30 for more information.
Meeting people online
There are lots of websites for women wanting to chat to, meet up with and/or date other women. Many will have a subscription fee but look out for free trials. Some of the more popular dating websites specifically for women who are looking for women are Pink Sofa, Gaydar Girls and Pink Lobster (the latter is for femme women). You'll also find women looking for women on non-specialist websites like OK Cupid, Plenty of Fish and Match.com.
If you're looking less for people to date and more for people to chat to, check out Gingerbeer's chat room. If you're coming out and want to talk to others Empty Closets is a great website to check out.
As well as websites, there are also smartphone apps to help you meet other women. Specialist dating apps for women who like women include HER, Findhrr, Scissr and Wing Ma'am and you can also use non-specialist apps like Tinder to meet women.
Whether you're using websites or apps, remember that the person on the other side of the screen may not be who they say they are. Don't reveal any information which could expose your identity (such as your address or real name) until you've met them in real life and built up some trust. If you decide to meet up with someone make sure you arrange to do so in a public place (like a cafe or bar) and that someone knows you're going and when to expect you back.
Be realistic about your expectations. If you're arranging to meet someone be clear on what you want and listen to what she says to - the person who says she's just looking for a casual fling is unlikely to turn into a longterm relationship!
The gay scene
One way to meet other women is out on the gay 'scene'. If you live in or near Manchester then you're lucky as it's home to the world famous Canal Street, the heart of a bustling 'Gay Village'. Manchester is also home to alternative LGBT-themed nights, some of which are aimed at women. Even if you don't live in or near Manchester, you'll probably find that there's at least one gay bar in your local city or town.
However, be aware that most gay venues do tend to be male dominated (for example, a survey of people out and about in Manchester's Gay Village found only about a third of them identified as women and half of these women identified as straight). It can also be a little intimidating to go out on the scene on your own. So take a friend with you if you can and seek out venues which are specifically aimed at women or that have a more even gender balance.
In Manchester, Vanilla is a bar specifically aimed at women and there are also club nights like Club Beaver which are geared towards women who like women. Further afield, The Hideaway in Urmston has a weekly women's night called 'Calling All Kikis'. Check out our Useful Links for info on other Manchester-area venues.
If you're just coming out, new to the area or just feeling a bit isolated and would like to build up a social network, one-to-one befriending may help. LGBT Foundation has a befriending scheme for anyone aged 25+ who lives in Greater Manchester which allows you to be matched with a trained volunteer for one-to-one befriending sessions. Click here to find out more. If you don't live in Manchester there may be a similar scheme in your area - give us a call on 0345 3 30 30 30 and we'll let you know if we know of one.
Give us a call!
Unfortunately we can't offer a match-making service (sorry!) but if you're unsure of where to start with meeting other women give us a call. We can let you know what's coming up locally and also help answer any questions and talk through any anxieties you may have.
Our helpline is open every day on 0345 3 30 30 30 (calls are charged at local rate and are free from most mobiles if you have an inclusive landline calls package). You can also contact us by email firstname.lastname@example.org.