The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday June 29th

The Sewing Circle offers space for the sapphic community on campus

The Sewing Circle poses for a group photo at their first meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022. Photo courtesy of the Sewing Circle.
Buy Photos The Sewing Circle poses for a group photo at their first meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022. Photo courtesy of the Sewing Circle.

The name of Emiko Andrews' club "The Sewing Circle" was inspired by the name of an old Hollywood club for closeted sapphic women, she said.

The Sewing Circle is a student organization that serves members of the sapphic community at UNC.

According to its description, the club aims to provide a community and support network for women and non-binary individuals who love women.

“I think it’s funny now — it's a little tongue-in-cheek that it’s not really a sewing circle, but it falls into those stereotypes of femininity, and also, it is paying tribute to our sapphic ancestors,” Andrews said.

The organization officially began in the spring semester after Andrews came up with the idea over the winter break.

“We spent almost all of winter break, and I think the first half of January, just planning for this club,” Anna Vu, The Sewing Circle’s social media manager, said. “When we did the first meeting, and I saw so many people show up — different people of color, different ethnicities, trans people and people of different orientations, just like, show up and support us — I was like, 'wow.”'

Even with other LGBTQ+ student organizations on campus, Vu said that there was a need for an organization that catered specifically to WLWs, or women who love women.

“You can always have general, all-welcoming LGBTQ+ clubs, but I feel like something about the L in LGBTQ sometimes goes unnoticed, or it’s not talked about more,” Vu said. “But I felt like, if I join the Sewing Circle, I can help represent them a bit more, and it also aligns more with my identity more than just the general one."

The club has hosted various events since it began, such as a cat picnic on the quad and a thrift night, and it will hold a “sapphic soirée” in April.

“It’s a little overwhelming because we’re so new, but it’s so great to see so many people interested in meeting other sapphics and see my vision come to life,” Andrews said.

Head of Communications Katie Gerstell said that joining the club has allowed them to express their identities in a judgment-free environment and meet more people with similar shared experiences.

“It’s so nice to be able to be out and people know that you’re out," Gerstell said. "Other than my little pin on my backpack, no one is really gonna know. And I’m not necessarily out at home. So it’s just nice to be able to be out,  be relatable to people and feel like you belong somewhere.”

Isabelle Raad, the club’s secretary, told The Daily Tar Heel at the cat picnic that it was hard for them to find those within the sapphic community, because of the stigma associated with searching.

“You can’t just be like, 'Oh my gosh, are you gay?'” Raad said. “So (the club) creates a community where that’s already established, so we feel comfortable with each other enough to be able to talk about our issues, experiences, literally anything. It doesn’t have to be related to being sapphic — I think it’s just to foster a sense of togetherness on campus.”

In the future, the club hopes to keep working on advocacy and community outreach, and organize more events based on the feedback they receive and the experiences they obtain, Vu said.

“We have a community within a community,” Vu said. “People have met people and have hung out outside of the club, and I hope it continues to do that.”

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