Launched in June of 2017 by artists Octavia Yearwood and Najja Moon, This Girls Lunchbox (TGL) began as a quest of sorts: both knew that there were lesbian, bisexual, and queer women living in Miami, but couldn’t seem to find them within the sprawling confines of the city. From that initial inquiry and conundrum, TGL was born as a membership club and “a space for all queer womxn to convene.”
LGBTQ women in Miami have often been regulated to special nights in transitory spaces that are not especially inviting to queer women of color. TGL has tried to address these issues, and what started as a monthly gathering at Yearwood’s Little Haiti apartment has since grown exponentially, both in terms of the number of members and what inclusion really means.
“A lot of our growth has to do with being more intentionally invested in the LGBTQIA community and learning the language used by folks these days,” says Moon. “It’s less about sexual orientation and more about gender identity and what to do when you don’t fit into a narrow binary.”
What has stayed the same is TGL's monthly “BYOB Lunch Box Getty,” but now, instead of at Yearwood’s apartment, they’re held at Villain Theater, a local spot for improv performances and classes, and well known for accepting and promoting the local LGBTQIA scene.
“The getty is an activation, a multisensory experience to appeal to all sorts of women,” says Yearwood. “We have music for dancing, paint and markers to draw on the walls, a writing prompt, and games [such as UNO and Cards Against Humanity]. It’s also important to us to have this space for women that doesn’t oversexualize us, as we so often are.”
Since its inception, they’ve also added to the mix a monthly film night, plus other “snacks” i.e. extras like calendars for sale, artist talks, and meetups to discuss self-care, among other things. They’ve also expanded their partnerships, working with places such as PAMM for membership discounts and #MIAMIGIRL Magazine for monthly member spotlights highlighting women who “define Miami through their artistic creativity, professional drive, persona ambition, and community leadership.”
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This weekend, organizers are opening up the getty to members and non-members alike. It's an attempt to welcome and show off their benefits to women who don’t want to commit right away. In October there will also be a collaboration with Babetown, a pop-up supper club for queer women, trans and non-binary people that meet in private homes.
In essence, Yearwood and Moon have created a public home for people who’ve always existed, but perhaps never found a sense of family in Miami.
“I feel privileged to be around everybody and see so many versions of representation, so many women who are successful in so many ways,” says Moon. “It’s beautiful to see that mirror all the time.”
BYOB Lunch Box Getty. 7 p.m Sunday, September 30, at Villain Theater, 5865 NE Second Ave., Miami; thisgirlslunchbox.com. Admission is free for members, $10 in advance, or $15 at the door via thisgirlslunchboxseptember.splashthat.com.