What began as a conversation over drinks at a venue on 17th Street has become one of the most talked about social events on the Washington, D.C., lesbian calendar. Once a month, the Ladies of LURe host BARE, a women’s party that packs Cobalt time and time again, with its diverse themes, great music, and celebrity guests.
“We want BARE to be something for everyone,” states Karen Diehl, co-host and organizer of LURe.
This January, “the LURe family” celebrates BARE’s Fourth Anniversary, making it the longest-running monthly lesbian party in Washington, D.C. However, there’s much more to Cobalt’s ladies’ night than meets the eye. LURe offers patrons the opportunity to party with a purpose. From the White Party to How the Grinch Stole BARE, these and other themed events not only draw hundreds of women from the community, but also raise awareness of—and thousands of dollars for—non-profits in the Metro D.C. area. Up to 75 percent of the revenue earned from a LURe event goes to organizations to support community initiatives and families.
“It’s all about education,” says Sterling Higgins, who co-plans and organizes the events for LURe. “When you offer people the ability to know what’s going on within their community, they have the opportunity to learn about themselves and connect with others,” she explains.
From increasing awareness of important health issues through partners like the Mautner Project, to promoting equality through activities of the Human Rights Campaign, to giving back to police officers and soldiers through partners like the Concerns of Police Survivors, Inc. (COPS) and the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), BARE has a positive impact on a variety of populations and philanthropic organizations across Washington, D.C.
For example, during Police Week each year, the Ladies of LURe host an event to benefit COPS—paying homage to our police forces, while raising money for families of fallen police officers.
“So many people don’t realize that if someone is killed in the line of duty nationwide, as a police officer, that person’s partner gets nothing. Not even their children get anything,” explains Diehl.
Seven years ago, Diehl sat down with her friends Higgins and Melissa May and began brainstorming ways to give the women’s community more choices about where and how to connect with other women.
“We had no idea what we were doing, how to do it, or what it was going to become,” admits Diehl, whose initial goal for the organization was “just to give women another option that was safe, fun, and different.”
After May moved on to pursue graduate school, Diehl approached Higgins, who knew the business, and asked her to step in as her partner. Now, the duo has built a family and a philanthropic empire at the mostly male dominated Cobalt location.
“There are so many of us putting it on together. We are more than a company. We are a family,” Diehl adds.
From graphic designers who create the fliers to bartenders who sling drinks to patrons who support local organizations with their cover charge, BARE has connected an entire community and, undoubtedly, unlocked the key to success in the process. All of the hard work and relationship building pays off at the BARE’s Fourth Anniversary Party, when Higgins is able to sit back and enjoy what she and the other Ladies of Lure have accomplished so far. “It’s very stressful, but very celebratory,” she reflects.
What’s the key to their success? Karma. “You work with people very hard, and it comes back to you,” asserts Higgins. There is no doubt that because of the diligent efforts and dedication these ladies have poured into the community, women in D.C. will continue to keep supporting the Ladies of LURe for many more events to come.