BY LAURA KINGSBURY
Have you ever wished you could navigate the LGBT women’s scene in one place?
From location-based profiles to keeping everyone “in the know” about upcoming events, the new, free mobile app Wing Ma’am aims to unify the LGBT women’s community through a complete social networking package.
Its inspiration came from Founder Ariella Furman’s experience in the gay community running a successful monthly LGBT women’s dance party called Impulse. New to the Pittsburgh area, Furman felt a sense of isolation and a lack of resources to connect with other queer women. Quickly her event grew to a subscriber network of more than 4,000 LGBT women who expressed similar feelings of isolation and a strong desire for more avenues to unite the community.
In fact, most women interviewed noted a very prevalent lack of participation in LGBT women’s events outside of their small social circles coupled with lesbian-oriented bars closing down at epidemic speeds. But, since her research also found numbers hinting at a queer women’s population of about 4-7 percent of women – or 9.4 million nationally – combined with a monumental year for LGBT visibility, it didn’t quite add up.
The problem? There is no centralized place to connect, browse profiles, chat with like-minded individuals, share information, and create and RSVP to LGBT events. And, this isn’t for a lack of interest.
“I think creating a centralized place for women to meet, albeit virtually, can both increase the dating pool as well as make it a lot less intimidating to make the first move,” Furman said. “I remember being single and feeling completely hopeless. The dating pool in my social circle seemed tiny! Everyone had dated everyone, so some people were off-limits to me just because they were the ex of a friend. Or any of the people I liked were already in relationships.”
But, despite the small community feel, queer women’s population represents a large, vibrant and diverse population of individuals who refuse to be quarantined to only to lesbian-oriented bar scenes or even just monthly parties. The more than a thousand women interviewed expressed a common theme of wanting to break outside of these limiting circles to share a wide variety of interests and connect through a wide variety of events from lesbian book clubs to weekly potlucks to outdoor activities.
“Our community tends to be really fragmented, and not all women hang out at bars,” Furman said. “My goal for Wing Ma’am is that it becomes a centralized and safe place for LGBT women to meet and connect, for friendships or for dating.”
Laura Kingsbury is a Pittsburgh native who enjoys putting her writing, marketing and social media skills to use for startup companies with great, new ideas. She graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania where she was the editor of the university’s twice-weekly, student newspaper, The Penn. She has also written for several other newspapers as well as developed a strong background in residential real estate. Her passions include helping to connect the LGBT women’s community, especially through her most recent contributions to Wing Ma’am. She urges you to like Wing Ma’am on Facebook so she can connect with LGBT women all across the country.