It was around 1.00 am, I already had a few drinks, and my friends and I headed to Velvet 69. We arrived outside Midi Station where the parties usually take place and found a long queue of eager women waiting patiently to enter the club.. My friend had cleverly bought the tickets in advance online and so we escaped waiting in the freezing cold.
It was quite a shock entering the club if I am honest….all these women…lesbians…hundreds of them. All ages, all types, in couples, with friends, alone…I don't think I ever saw so many lesbians gathered in one place in Brussels before.
As I was making my way through the crowds, I began to recognize friends, acquaintances…but then there were others…many that I had not seen before… Who were they?
Velvet 69 is the biggest and longest-running lesbian party in Brussels. It is the first party you hear about when you come out And it is one of the very few parties that attracts crowds from outside Brussels. In fact, there are many women who come to Brussels specifically for this party its Facebook invitation habitually offers hotel recommendations for the out-of-towners!
The music is basically pop remixes and the ambiance and venue are quite 'glam–come-luxury' Near- naked women perform short dance shows each hour or so.
The party in general is quite mainstream. Mainstream music, in a mainstream venue. It is not the kind of party I would usually go for- I am most into underground environments with electronic and house music. I also tend to generally try to avoid places that present semi-naked dancers etc – not in line with my personal feminist credentials.
Yet, there was something very interesting about the party. The women were so diverse. Different ages, different backgrounds, different tastes, different needs, butches, femmes…the only thing that united us was that we were all lesbians. Was that enough? Initially I thought not. I usually prefer to mix and party with people who share my political, intellectual, artistic taste rather than with people that simply share my sexuality.
But then there I was, dancing, chatting with my friends, having a really good time. And I kept thinking, why does this work? And it does very obviously work. And I am still not sure what makes it work and sometimes it’s very personal. But for me, I felt that it was relaxing.
It is a fact that we are all different people, with different needs and desires. But wherever we are, whoever we mix with, there is always this uniting part of us, this defining line which distinguishes us. And as lesbians, living in a mainly straight environment, our sexuality is usually the part of otherness that often doesn’t connect with our general environment. And it is fine. We are out, we are proud, our friends and families (sometimes) know and/or (sometimes) approve. But this otherness is always there, consciously or unconsciously. We are a minority in the world, and a minority in the gay world. And that’s not always an easy thing.
But then here we are, dancing away at Velvet 69, with everything in reverse. Sexuality was the main common denominator in the crowd. It was in fact everything else that pointed to “otherness”. We were tall, short, young, older, hipsters, artists, geeks. It was obscure that while being a party based on sexuality, once we entered the party, sexuality wasn’t a factor that defined us in that environment. Being a lesbian was the default setting. And it was nice. And relaxing. For a change.
So I really enjoyed Velvet 69 and would definitely go back.
Velvet 69 takes place every around 2 months. The next party is on 7 March 2015.