My dear lesbian and queer women,
I come out of my editorial hole this Lesbian Day of Visibility to deliver you some seriously significant sapphic information. Summer will be upon us soon, which means LezVolley is just around the corner!
Just in case you don’t know, LezVolley is an annual women’s volleyball tournament that takes place on Cherry Grove, Fire Island. Since its humble beginnings in 2011, LezVolley has become the most popular LGBTQ+ event for women and non-binary people on Fire Island. The tournament features 25 teams from New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania – up from the original eight who competed in 2011 – and is professionally officiated by New York City’s Gotham Volleyball league, the largest gay sports organization in New York City. Players of every age and skill level are welcome, as are spectators. LezVolley attracts thousands each year to watch the games and experience an entertainment-packed (and gay AF) beach day like no other.
This year’s festivities will take place on August 13.
LezVolley is brought to you by our brilliant community members Danielle Stanziale (host at the Stonewall Inn Thursday night’s Anything Goes and the annual Gay Pride party Pier Pressure) and Kristine Bungay (host and DJ at the Stonewall Inn Friday night’s Lesbo-a-gogo). Back in 2011, the duo saw attendance decreasing in their beloved Cherry Grove and decided to do their part to keep it the number one vacation spot for LGBTQ+ women. Both love fitness and decided to launch a sporting event to unite the community, and behold! LezVolley was born.
This LezVolley weekend includes the 25-team tournament on the beach with prizes for the winning teams, an official after party, and Sunday Pool Show at the Ice Palace.
If action-packed volleyball games, tons of entertainment and bonds formed on the beach aren’t enough to sell you on LezVolley, here are 10 reasons you need to be there.
To Celebrate The Power Of Community
You know that heart-fluttery feeling you get at Pride when you look out into the sea of gays in your city? Imagine that feeling on a beach. The power of community is palpable at LezVolley, as is the loving and proud energy in the air. The crowd is kind, inclusive, and ready to party! And if you missed The Voice and American Idol alum Marisa Corvo tearing the hell out of the National Anthem at last year’s LezVolley, fear not: she’s back in 2022. “Lez Volley is the Mecca event of the year … there’s a sense of pride and privilege being with all these women for the weekend,” Corvo tells LezVolley. Can’t argue with a songstress!
To Take Part In An Event That Isn’t Centered Around Drinking (unless you want it to be!)
I love a vodka soda as much as the next gay but it’s really nice for us to have such a popular, large-scale event that isn’t all about drinking. Give the booze a break and soak up the sun, break a sweat, and get your sportsbian on. Unless you’re like me, and you would prefer to drink canned champers and watch hot sweaty lesbians play. It’s Fire Island, baby. Drink, don’t drink, play, don’t play: this is a no judgment zone. (Don’t you love those?) And don’t fret if you still need that liquid courage to hit on the girl on the opposing team: there’s an after party.
To Make Friends & Maybe More
Everyone is in a good mood at LezVolley. The sun is shining, the dykes are in their sporty element, the sand is soft, the people are lovely in more ways than one (don’t believe me? There is photographic evidence, baby). The queer women are super friendly and it’s easy to strike up a conversation about volleyball or … literally anything. Remember what I said above about LezVolley being a no judgment zone? That applies here, too: slather on sunscreen and chat about your new rescue cat, saddle up to the cutie who’s spectating next to you, or bond with your teammates over your love of Billie Eilish. And of course, if you want more, well … read Zara Barrie’s after-party account from a LezVolley past:
I paired my liquid silver, floor-length skirt with a green leopard print bikini top and skipped to the party. This is why I love Fire Island. You’re not judged for wearing a bikini top as an actual shirt, you’re praised for it. By drag queens. By queer babes. By gay men.
The rest of the night was blissful wilderness. I met the most amazing girls, girls I’ve never met in the city. I made friends. I exchanged numbers. I chatted up the volleyball players. I even befriended the one gay male hairdresser on the island who gave me his card and offered to give me a blowout the next time I’m in town … I fell asleep in all of my glittery, acne-stimulating makeup, because, well, it was that kind of night.
To Celebrate Summer
The same way that straight people celebrate the end of summer with cishet dudes in jorts manning grills, LezVolley is like the unofficially gay way of bidding farewell to another sunny season. Straight BBQs simply kiss summer goodbye. We French kiss her for hours in the sun and then take her to the after party on the beach, home to our respective Airbnbs, and possibly to drag brunch at Cherry’s on the Bay. And probably home on the ferry after that to meet our parents and look at pet-friendly apartments together. We are lesbians, after all.
To Get Out Of The City
I love NYC, you love NYC, we all love NYC. But we can’t deny that come August, trading concrete and heat (and hot trash bag smell) for sand and sunshine (and salty sea air!) sounds like a pretty good deal…
To Move Your Body
LezVolley is one of the most unique queer events, because it combines socializing with sheer activity, all in a picturesque, beachy setting! Instead of just sitting around on our same old barstools before taking the F train home alone (again), this is an opportunity to MOVE! And playing in the sand with dykes gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. According to past attendee RoxStar, “[t]he tournament creates an amazing competitive dynamic where you see team spirits thrive no matter what level you are! It’s just an incredible experience to spend the day playing, cheering, boozing, and having the best time ever with gorgeous people. Absolutely love it!”
To Be A Part Of Gay History & Culture
Like I said earlier, LezVolley is community, pure and simple. As we dykes know all too well, safe places for us didn’t always exist (thank you, Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera and all our queer pioneers for changing that). LezVolley offers up an opportunity to play, connect and thrive with family and friends in a way that wasn’t possible even a few decades ago. So not only is your attendance fine, it is quite literally a piece of history and a contribution to lesbian culture.
OK, Fine: Hot Dykes In Bikinis
This reason simply cannot go ignored.
To Support LGBTQ+ Women
If you’ve ever worked in event planning, you know firsthand how much work LezVolley takes. Wrangling hot dykes may be rewarding, but coordinating an all-day tournament, vendors, performers and celebrations is not for the faint of heart. Going to LezVolley is not only fun, it’s also a huge show of support for LGBTQ+ women and non-binary people, and the organizations and businesses we all hold dear. “Every year LezVolley gets bigger and better, and we are so proud of how the 10-year anniversary has brought in a new generation of amazing players and fans,” LezVolley co-founder Stanziale told Fire Island News last year. “We are honored by the love and support, and feel and see the joy on so many beautiful faces. And that is the best gift we receive by this one day every summer.”
To Have The Time Of Your Life
Some of my life’s happiest memories are at LezVolley and I know I can speak for the community when I say that queer celebration is the best form of “sticking it” to the man. Registration for LezVolley 2022 is open now. Come join the fun!