I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

A few of months ago we asked 'Where have all the lesbians gone?' and after asking that question we (Naomi and Katie) embarked on a long journey to find out.

A conversation with Sarah Garrett of G3 Magazine at the Big Gay Lifestyle Show in 2011 sparked an idea of how to find out where the lesbians go out or why they don't. Throughout November Planet London sat down in our friendly Wetherspoons thinking about what we wanted to know, and what we needed to ask to get that answer. We then wrote all the questions we wanted the answers to (with several re-writes) . This grew into a (somewhat long, but detailed) online survey.

We spoke to the event organisers and asked them if there was anything else they wanted to know and got some feedback on our initial draft. By the end of the month we had a survey ready to publish.

On 1 December 2011 Planet London launched the '1st Planet London Social Community Survey' - believed to be the first of its kind in London. We'd gained the support of some sponsors and supporters along the way: Candy BarElysion EventsExclusively PrideG3 MagazineGo.Go FestivalLoungeRumoursBeehayveELOPLondon Lesbian & Gay SwitchboardSouthbank Surfing and The Glass Bar.

The aim of the survey is to help ensure a thriving and diverse social community and knowing what you like to do is an important part of that. This aim worked well with the aims and values that Planet London has adopted.

We had limited expectations and our hearts in our throats as we let people know and hoped they would fill it in. Happily the response was immediate - lesbians to have a lot they want to say as we had guessed! We surpassed our goal of 100 responses within 2 days, receiving 129 responses in just 48 hours and at the halfway point of the collection period we reached over 500 responses!

So we thought we'd like to take this opportunity to explain a bit more about where the survey came from and tease you with a few of the findings so far. On Wednesday evening we met with a few of the headline sponsors and supporters in The Green Carnation in Soho to host New Year drinks and to discuss the early findings. They very much welcomed the early feedback about their specific events and the scene in general and are excitedly awaiting the final results and already have a number of thoughts and ideas to make their events even better for you all.

Over 60% of respondents said personal safety at event was either crucial or of great importance.

"Early findings tell us the main reason people go out to a particular venue, generally once or twice a week, is because that is where their friends are going and Soho and the West End remain the most popular hang outs.

The main factor, to over 45% of respondents, for choosing where they go out is who the event is aimed at. The venue (over 50%) and whether friends are going (over 35% crucial, over 40% of great importance). Facilities and cleanliness of toilets are not as important as music for most respondents.

Of the responses so far, a third of respondents are in their 30s, with other ages groups represented but we’ve had a low response from over 50s and from 18-21s.

The responses come from a good geographical spread around London (and further afield). There has been a fairly low response from people living in West London and the City.

Naomi Bennett, Co-Founder of Planet London said “We are really pleased with the responses so far, we have already learned a great deal about what lesbians want in terms of their social life. However we are keen to make sure the survey represents as many of the views as possible of the lesbians and bi women out there in London, who could number anything from 200,000 upwards.”"

It is a very exciting time for everyone involved, and who knows what the next 6 weeks will hold. Will we exceed 1,000 responses? We'll just have to see.

If you haven't already done so, please tell us think about the social opportunities for lesbians in London. The survey isn't just about going out in the evening, it covers LGBT families; socialising generally; clubs, groups & societies; retail and volunteering & charity. The sponsors and supporters have kindly donated a number of prizes which you can win just for giving us some of your time and your opinion. Full details of what you can win are on the survey page and also at the end of the survey.