Sapphic Pleasure Abounds At This Montréal Hot Spot


There’s a very good reason the bathroom line is long.

It’s Halloween night and I’m surrounded by topless nuns in habits, pesky Peter Pans stuffing dollar bills in thigh harnesses, and a St. David’s Cross filled with the quivering hands of people being whipped by the Haus Dominatrix. ElleLui’s party, Aphrodisia, is serving queer pleasure and all seven of the deadly sins. 

At one point, security pulls ElleLui’s team aside to say “someone’s having sex on the toilet.” 

Their response: “THANK GOD!” 


ElleLui is a dynamic trio of Sapphic space-curators who’ve taken Montréal by storm. Ray Resvick (26), Lucia Winter (22) and Eloise Haliburton (24) have run ElleLui since August 2022, when Lucia (who originally founded the night in September 2021 with Taylor Douglas, who’s now studying in London) made a call out, for people who could “help her in diverse ways.” 

Her prayers were soon answered by Ray, a queer comedian, burlesque performer, and community organizer from Vancouver, who has expertise in back and front of house production, and is ElleLui’s self-proclaimed “smoozer.” “Pleasure is seen as a luxury,” says Ray. “And for a lot of people, it’s really hard to come by… especially for people who are living under multiple intersections of marginalization and oppression. It is really lovely to go to a space where you do not have to police yourself, where your goal for the next 3 hours can be simply indulging in the space and enjoying yourself.” 

Eloise, likewise from Vancouver has a “government job” by day, but handles “all of the brain, the budget, and tech” for ElleLui. New Yorker Lucia has a background in sound tech and production–and so she “always had an interest in events and music and dancing. And also being gay.”

Though the name ElleLui was blabbed out last minute in a car rental place as their first party approached, it’s a title that makes a lot of sense. “Fundamentally it’s the pronoun Elle and Lui so She and They. It has this fluidity that I think speaks to the intersectionality of our community,” says Eloise. Producing events for Montreal’s she/they community is ostensibly a part-time job, but the team spends “more time doing ElleLui than we do anything else,” says Eloise, “at 7:30am Lucia and I start texting, at around 11am Ray joins in,” and they continue planning and bantering until lights out. When I asked how they work together, Ray ruminates on the answer, “by fate, we roll the dice, we balance and we hit all the marks,” they say, rolling an imaginary die, and knocking over a glass at the Quartier des Spectacles wine bar as they do. Eloise jumps up, lightening-speed, to get a serviette.

“That’s exactly how we work,” says Lucia, unflinching in her chair. 

“I make the mess,” says Ray, “Eloise cleans up, and Lucia says ‘good.’” 

Their first event had a 55-pax capacity due to covid restrictions, but close to two hundred revelers showed up. It was meant to be a one-party wonder, but Lucia instantly saw the “voraciousness” for Sapphic events in her city. “It’s something that I’m personally now feeling a responsibility for, to have larger venues to accommodate more people.” At their latest “rager,” 500 people showed up, “a lot of people waiting in line and I had to say, I’m so sorry you’ve been out here for over an hour and I don’t have a ticket for you,” says Eloise. 

Montreal’s she/they community are not merely calling for “ragers” and ElleLui are working around the clock to satiate the eclectic Sapphic thirst in their city. They have “lez-chill” minglers, holiday markets, fundraisers in support of Montreal’s Black Healing Fund, open mic nights, screen printing, live music events like Sapphonix (queer Sapphic classical music), just to name a handful of the spaces they’ve created in the past year. “Our line of work is Sapphic joy,” says Lucia. The team is aware that this type of joy cannot and shouldn’t just be contained in a club, and so they are constantly collaborating and shape-shifting to meet the needs of their communities. 

While the team have the skill-set to host events worldwide, their interests firmly lie (for the moment anyway) in nurturing the community that birthed them, and they are reciprocally birthing. They all feel like they have a “personal responsibility” to their local community, “I wouldn’t consider expanding outside Montréal until we’ve achieved certain goals…” says Ray, “we are in constant community conversation because we’re part of this community.” 


At the Aphrodisia rager, I witnessed the warmth and kindness of the Montréal community firsthand. If you don’t have change, someone will pay for your coat check, if your drink gets spilled, someone will buy you a new one and an apology shot. I have never seen such an outwardly warm and friendly crowd watch a dominatrix whip the ass of a red-leather clad dyke. It’s nice having the founding trio visible and present, fostering a truly safe space – which allows for the kind of wildness the ElleLui team champions.


“Three couples had sex at Aphrodisia,” says Eloise, “I watched someone dismount their lady friend.” 

“Dismountin’,” adds Ray, in a Texan accent.  

“I was so proud we did that, that’s Sapphic joy right here,” says Eloise. 

“That’s Sapphic pleasure,” Lucia corrects. 

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