What do you do when you want more queer friends? Go to a picnic of course.


It’s March 2022, not long after the lockdown ended in the UK. Abi is thirty at the time and realises that although she loves her friends they are all “cursed with heterosexuality”. She wants her very own ‘The L Word’ friendship group. She wonders: “How does anyone make friends in London when they’re thirty?” And then thinks: “I’m going to do something weird.”

She posts a video asking “If you’re a woman loving women or a non-binary person living in London, do you want to be friends?” The TikTok goes out into the Internet universe, entering queer TikTok and steering past digital traffic into people’s feeds. People see it, and the post goes sort of viral.


“I’m down!”

“Let’s be friends!”

A destination is chosen, and a declaration is made to meet all these strangers from the internet. She posts another video saying: “I’m going to sit on a picnic blanket in Hyde Park. I look like this. Come and find me.”

She thought five people would show up. It was a bit more than that… About 300 people showed up to find Abi on the picnic blanket that first day.

There’s report after report highlighting the loneliness and mental health epidemic faced within the LGBTQIA community. Unfortunately, some people have difficulty coming out, some people live in isolated areas, and sometimes life is just really hard.

It’s also important to highlight the beauty of queer friendships when they happen and demonstrate how truly supportive this community can be. Imagine shouting out into the universe (or the internet) and hundreds (now thousands) of people opening their arms out to each other. “With queer people, it’s what we do. We have each other’s backs,” Abi explains. “Our whole history is about community because for so long we haven’t been supported by systems. It’s in our blood and bones that we have community”.

Abbi put a message into the world imploring the queer gods to reply. And they did. Bringing an army of sapphics and enbys. “It was like the bit on Jurassic Park when the dinosaurs are coming over the hill. I looked over the corner and I saw mullets and pixie cuts and dungarees and doc martins,” Abi laughs.

The Big Queer Picnic is now a series of not just picnics but events offering a place for women-loving women and trans people to come and make queer friends. People travel from all over the country because the TikTok algorithm worked its magic and found queer people with a desire for queer friendships.

Zaidi was hesitant about coming to the picnic at first because of their social anxiety and, like Abi, didn’t have any queer friends to go with. “The Big Queer Picnic came at the most perfect time for me this year. I was going through a messy breakup and Abi just randomly popped up on my fyp So long story short, I have queer friends now which is so amazing.”

Artemi joined the original WhatsApp group. She told me that she was really drawn to the event because there are so few spaces for queer people that aren’t cis men. “I went to pre-drinks with some other folks who were nervous about not going with anyone.”

She adds: “We were able to meet in a smaller group and thus have some faces that we knew amongst the big crowd”.

I asked Abbi, now nicknamed the ‘queer pied piper’, what she would say to her pre-picnic self. “You haven’t met all the people that you’re going to love yet. Literally a year and a half ago, this whole friendship I have now didn’t exist.”

She gets a little emotional and apologises. But we both understand it’s just a show of how grateful she is. She adds: “The way that queer women support each other is so magical, we romanticise our friendships in a way that I think is really beautiful.” And I couldn’t agree more.

Check out the Instagram @bigqueerpicnic for more details!

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