Guernsey Press

Lesbian hiking group founders create ‘wholesome’ space for LGBT women

Lucy Cooper and Yasmin Message founded the group Dykes Who Hike.

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The founders of a hiking group for LGBT women and non-binary people have said they were eager to create a “wholesome” space for people to connect with each other.

Lucy Cooper, 23, and Yasmin Message, 27, told the PA news agency they decided to establish Dykes Who Hike after lamenting the lack of spaces dedicated to allowing queer women to meet in London.

Since March, Dykes Who Hike have tackled Seaford to Eastbourne, walked Dover to Deal and traversed Canterbury to Whitstable, with over 200 people attending their most recent hike.

Lucy Cooper (left) and Yasmin Message (right) founded Dykes Who Hike in March (Dykes Who Hike/PA)

Ms Cooper explained: “It’s all about facilitating community and getting people outside and being able to connect more with our community, and to create that space for queer women that doesn’t necessarily involve alcohol.”

The atmosphere of the walks are “buzzy” as “you’re surrounded by these people who you could be friends with”, Ms Message said.

“There’s this mutual understanding that we all want to talk to each other, which I think you don’t get in other spaces.

“It’s nice because you feel so at home and comfortable and safe on the hikes.

“It’s just good wholesome fun.”

She said many people participate in the hikes on their own and a “few little friendship groups have now sprung up”.

Dykes Who Hike is a hiking group for LGBT women and non binary people (Dykes Who Hike/PA)

“By the end of the day, you would recognise everyone’s faces, even if you’ve not spoken.

“I feel like I know a lot of lesbians in London now and they all know each other and it feels like a fun web.”

Although the hiking group is named Dykes Who Hike, the group welcomes people of various sexualities and gender identities.

Ms Cooper added: “We have had a lot of different ages and types of people that come, so we’ve had mums, we’ve had people over the age of 50, people with dogs, there’s a really nice mix.”

The pair are creating an ambassador scheme, whereby people from across the UK can organise their own hikes under the Dykes Who Hike name, with an upcoming hike planned for Manchester on June 15.

Over 200 people attended the most recent hike (Dykes Who Hike/PA)

“We’ll train them up and talk about how we kind of run the hikes and give them a bit of advice on what we’ve learned, and let them fly away with that and organise their own hikes so that more lesbians in the UK can go on hikes.”

Dykes Who Hike have also earned a spot at London’s Pride march on June 29.

The pair are proud of the community they have formed and are “excited” to continue expanding the group, Ms Message said.

“I think everyone is really thankful for the space,” she added.

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