Every year at the end of March, 20,000 lesbians from around the world fly into the Californian desert for five days of debauchery, and I’m one of them.
It’s my second time at the Dinah, also known as the largest girl festival in the world. I’m staying at the Hilton in Palm Springs, which is hosting the famous Dinah pool parties, and the hotel feels like a homosexual harem.
It’s a surreal experience: for a few days the world is turned upside down, the minority is suddenly the majority. Everywhere you look, lesbians are smiling, drinking, dancing, kissing.
There are a few men around – staff working the event and guys who have been dragged along by lesbian friends – but they are hard to spot. It’s basically entirely queer women in attendance.
Today, nobody is here for the golf. No one is here for the DJs, comedians or YouTube stars performing either. They’re here for the girls. Butch, femme, old, young, gold stars, bi, black, white, hardcore, normcore – the Dinah attracts a diverse group. There’s a sense of liberation and a tacit understanding that what happens in Dinah stays in Dinah (unless it ends up on Facebook).
“Flashing is normal,” Charlotte, 24, told me. “I get flashed at a lot.” Random girls pulling you into their hotel rooms are also pretty standard. One year, there was a minor earthquake in Palm Springs. Debbie, a Dinah veteran who has attended every event since 1991, recalls that half the water splashed out of the pool. Most of the girls were too drunk to realize or care.
The feeling of permissiveness is compounded by the desert scenery: it looks like there has been some sort of gaypocalypse, and all the straight men and women have died out.