Madison’s LPub was founded by Kat Kosmaule in December 2015 after she attended an LPub in a different city. She had a strong mission and vision around creating community in our city, too. And, after seven years of planning great LPubs, Kat decided to shift her focus.
The three of us (Heather Long, Alissa Gauger, and Jennifer Smith) volunteered to step up and run the LPubs going forward. Heather and Alissa are friends who met working at Dean Health Plan, and Alissa and Jen have been a couple for 28 years, married since 2014. We are all queer women from the Madison and Mount Horeb area who believe in creating safe spaces for other queer women, and allies, to socialize and create connections.
We also share a passion for community building and feel strongly about helping to reduce isolation and loneliness by bringing people together in a positive way. We see 30–50 people come out for these events to make new friends and more. In an online world, and with the pandemic’s isolating effects, we feel that seeing people in person is really critical. Now, we’re finding that holding these events sparks the idea in other cities, too!
How it Works
Our team contacts local bars and establishments to schedule at least one LPub each month (on a Saturday at 6 p.m.). We rotate around to various LGBTQ+ supportive businesses that we feel are a safe space. Safety is paramount! It is our number one concern, and it’s hard not to think about it. Because we’re not holding the events in a dedicated space, we feel that there is some safety in changing locales regularly.
Given the rise in violence, it’s more important that we support and keep an eye out for each other. We are often specifically asked if the events are open to trans women—absolutely yes! We intend for the space to be very inclusive of all queer women as well as their allies. The bars remain open to the public so no one needs to identify a specific way to attend.
Once we coordinate the details for an event we post the events in the Facebook group. It’s helpful when people click “Going” or “Interested” to the events so that the bars can staff accordingly. We’re expanding this summer to “bonus” LPubs outside of the city to reach more people in different areas. We may even explore different days of the week and collaborate with other LGBTQA+ organizations. We are always open to suggestions and ideas.
Search on Facebook for “Lesbian Pop Up Bar // Madison Edition’’ and follow us. We post at least one event per month—usually on a Saturday at 6 p.m. Let us know if you plan to come. We hope to see you out! n