I remember being 15 years old and watching this TV show on Showtime called The L Word. It was essentially Sex and the City but for lesbians (and a bit more dramatic, too). There’s an episode where the characters go to this huge weekend event in Palm Springs that’s basically a wild, spring break-type situation with pool parties and club nights specifically for LGBT women. When I saw it, I immediately thought, Wait…there’s a place for just a bunch of women like me to go celebrate and party?

Fast forward to being 21 years old: finally, I was on my way to Dinah Shore Weekend for the first time. Walking into a massive pool party and seeing women from every walk of life, race, gender identity and age was one of the most incredible experiences. Women came from all over the country—and world—just to party and connect with other LGBT women. I felt excited and empowered. Best of all, I felt safe, as if I was surrounded by a bunch of my sisters.

It’s both necessary and refreshing to be around those who won’t judge you for who you are—or who you love.

In a world where lesbians still have few designated spaces to congregate (girl bars and clubs have been rapidly shutting down all over the United States as of late), Dinah has become a destination to get together, meet new people and have fun. It also serves as an escape and safe haven for women from less progressive cities and states and a place to be unapologetically free. Considering our current political climate, this is all the more important. With our government being run by so many conservatives who are unsupportive of LGBT people, it’s both necessary and wildly refreshing to be around those who won’t judge you for who you are—or who you love.

This year, Dinah has felt even more full of love than before. There’s a stronger tone of unity and solidarity, which I feel like comes out most among groups during hard times. Alongside vendors selling vibrators and T-shirts sporting catchy phrases like “Never Not Gay” are booths offering postcards that can be sent to the White House and education on LGBTQ and women’s issues. The annual “White Party” has been renamed the “Pink Pussy Party,” tying back to the theme of the Women’s March in January. Everyone is activated, empowered or escaping–all equally valid and necessary responses to what’s been going on.

Personally, I’m thrilled to be attending as well as performing this year. I need to be surrounded by my community. I need to feel open, free and safe. I need an escape. All of my friends—as well as fellow performers—seem to be on the same page. I deejay many different kinds of events, and at most, I am surrounded by a majority of men. From my colleagues to attendees, there’s always plenty of dudes who are mainly cisgender and heterosexual. I’ve also played in cities and countries that sadly aren’t gay-friendly either, so deejaying for a room full of LGBT women really is a special feeling that is, for me, needed more than ever right now. I can’t think of a place more appropriate than Dinah to perform, where I can look out to a room full of every kind of woman you can imagine, and feel inspired for our future.