Are You Strapped? Step Inside Chicago’s Salacious Dyke Party

Warning: this party gets feral.

‘Strapped’ is a “hot, sexy party,” says Irregular Girl.

“It’s feral,” adds Siichele. The co-creators of Chicago’s illustrious dyke party delight in describing their creation over a coffee during their lunch break. By day, Irregular Girl works at feminist sex shop Early to Bed, while Siichele is a make-up artist and barista. By night, they are both supremely talented drag artists, and though casually dressed and caffeinating between shifts, they retain a vivaciousness that screams for the spotlight.  

‘Strapped,’ is a party 100% for and by the lesbian, lesbian-adjacent, and drag community. It’s a showcase of talent, an explosion of liberation and creativity, and a masterfully designed night, seamlessly sliding between steamy Sapphic dance-party and drag shows – with three performance slots laced through the night, and 5+ acts. 


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Siichele and Irregular Girl named Strapped after a, yep, you got it.

 “It’s something that a lot of lesbians recognise immediately,” says Irregular Girl, who also co-hosts Moans, an all-trans showcase and Descontrol, a Latine & Afrolatine party. “It’s like, we fuck,” says Irregular Girl, “and that energy has been there since we started, that foundation of desire has been there.” 

She has expanded the inclusivity of Chicago nightlife by, as she puts it, “leaning into the things that make me unique as a person, and then letting that expand out through my drag.”

“[Strapped] always sells out,” concurs Siichele, who rains her sexuality over any space she performs in (tending to leave her audience looking like Drew Barrymore in a downpour), “people will be sitting on the sidewalk, waiting for somebody to come out so they can come in.”

It all started out with a Tweet, ‘hey I’m kinda over it,’ typed Siichele referring to the lack of lesbian-focus nights in Chicago and at Berlin Nightclub (her “home bar,” where Strapped now pops-up on the first Friday of every month). Siichele asked if anyone wanted to join forces with her; Irregular Girl replied almost immediately. Within weeks, they had co-created the Sapphic space they wanted to see in their city. 


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Drag is central to Strapped: it’s packed with dazzling looks, laugh-out-loud humor, and perfectly choreographed routines – each act is met with unruly applause from the crowd. It’s lesbian drag, by lesbian artists, for a predominantly lesbian crowd. “Even when we were getting started in the scene, you literally didn’t see… any sort of lesbian-oriented drag pushed anywhere really,” says Siichele, “…literally drag queens would be broke without lesbians, like Drag Race would not exist without its lesbian fan base.” Now, Chicago’s drag scene is decidedly sailing toward the island of Lesvos, with a vast and diverse scene of drag kings, anti-queens and faux queens. 

“Our performers are a huge part of that,” says Irregular Girl, “so many trans girls come up to me after the show and say, it was so cool seeing you, so cool seeing other people doing their thing on stage and be celebrated for that. I feel like that representation makes a huge difference, it would have made a huge difference for me starting out in the scene.” 

Strapped is a particularly important space to Irregular Girl and Siichele because they often find that lesbian parties, “don’t make room for trans women, trans men, other people who are definitely part of the community, or definitely would be part of the community…” says Irregular Girl.

“And that’s continuous feedback for lesbian spaces,” adds Siichele, “and it’s like, are y’all gonna do anything to remedy that or what?”  

“Exactly, a lot of parties don’t care because they just care about the bottom line,” continues Irregular Girl, “and obviously we want ourselves and our performers to make money, we want the bar to make money too, but you know, if you’re not serving the community you’re throwing the party for, then you’re not throwing the party for the community.”

I had the opportunity to confirm firsthand the extent to which Chicago’s queer community adores Strapped. That night, the crowd screamed in delight and hurled scrunched up dollar bills on stage. The performers left the crowd swilling in Sapphic sexual energy – jaws on the floor, hearts racing, body parts throbbing, as people quite literally ran across the venue to greet the performers as they descended from the stage. The fires of Sapphic desire were further stoked by the midnight sex toy give-away courtesy of Irregular Girl’s day job.  

After midnight, the dancefloor reached boiling degrees of amorousness; all fishnets and leather, a blitz of rolling hips, and come hither stares. The venue itself is very human-centered in design, with three well-staffed bars, and a quality sound-system that hugs the body while still allowing people to hear each others’ flirtations. 

Strapped is how a lesbian party should feel – the whole space designed for the full liberation and full expression of all members of our extensive community. Sappho is smiling down on Strapped, may it continue to reveal expansive, new, playful and mega-talented dimensions of lesbian nightlife.

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