10 Surprising Places To Meet LGBT Singles

lesbian couple

Where can you find single lesbians? Single gays? Trans folk? Where are the bisexuals? If I've heard it once, I've heard it a million times — "There's no one to date where I am!" Not true.

If you're connected (meaning you've got Internet access), are you searching for and checking out all the dating sites? If you're not connected to the Internet, go to the library and use their machines. Got a smartphone and a data plan? Consider yourself hooked up.

Let's just get dating sites out of the way first. There's one for everyone. Many focus on our LGBT needs, desires and fetishes including transgender folk, bears, butches, femmes, tops, bottoms and everyone else in-between. But the whole dating site scene is getting old, right? It's not always fun; it's not always productive and though it's interesting to meet that bottom boy in Alaska online, that's a hook-up that won't happen if you live in Miami.

Being LGBT means being extra special, but it also means being extra hard to find ... but only because you are stuck in a box about where to find lesbian, gay, bi or trans people. I work with lesbians from New York City to small towns in Texas to Dubai, Australia, Canada and the woods of Maine, and almost every woman I work with believes it's hard to find LGBT people.

So, let's open up a few more closet doors, move beyond your local Starbucks, explore some options to create a treasure map for where LGBT people hang out and where you can go looking for connections.

1. Local lecture series. First off, we are smart, aren't we? Secondly, we love to learn and hang out with smart people. Start checking out your local university and its lecture series. Harvard did a lecture series for 2012 that involved a collaboration between leading researchers and world class chefs. I'm sorry I missed it.

Can't you see the gays hanging out here? Um, I can. So don't miss what's happening for 2013 in your city and town for lecture series. Harvard isn't the only university or college that does lecture series. Libraries do them; nonprofits do them; museums do them; aquariums, historic sites, audubon groups and activists of all sorts do them. Yeah, you'll meet straight folks but lots of them know LGBT people these days. Even Honey Boo Boo has an out queer redneck uncle!

The University of Maryland and San Diego State University both host as annual LGBT lecture series and there are so many other colleges that do this. And apart from hanging with an exclusively LGBT crowd, what else do you want to learn about this year? Check out what's available and get on it now.

2. Fundraisers. It could be a fundraiser to fight cancer like the Maine Tri for a Cure that many lesbians love to support or how about LGBT civil rights events. One of my favorites is ArtErotica that is put on by the Octopus Club in Austin, Texas to raise money to provide emergency financial assistance to those living with HIV and AIDS in Central Texas. Now this is just one of at least a dozen events that this group does annually. For over 20 years ArtErotica has been one of the most unique and scintillating art events in Austin. From lust to love, ArtErotica has it all: painted art, sculpture, fabrication, kitsch and live-on-the-spot art being created as part of the evening. 

So whether it's your local HRC chapter, the HIV/AIDS group or your state's gay marriage effort you’ll find lgbt family all over the place at these happenings. I love to walk into a room where we "own" what's going on. But don't forget other nonprofit events that our LGBT crowd likes to support like theatre, the symphony, the local museum and animal shelters.

3. Cooking classes and wine tastings. We all have to eat! And it's really cool to be the one putting out a meal that has your friends begging for more. I love cooking classes, and I've gone to quite a few over the years. One of my favorites was at the Whole Foods Headquarters in Austin, TX. It was a wine tasting and dinner event.

The wine all came from a family owned vineyard, Davis Family Vineyards. They had an amazing Riesling; barely a hint of sweetness, oily, full of lingering mineral flavors and served with an amazing appetizer created by the lead Whole Foods chef. Can you say major fun? Plus I met a number of single lesbians at this event who also enjoy wine and good food. No Whole Foods cooking classes in your city? Then start looking around for where there are cooking classes and special food events.

4. Local community classes. this can be a goldmine for meeting LGBT folks. Again, we are smart and love learning! Community Education classes range from health and fitness events to plumbing, electricity and car repair. I've got a slew of lesbian friends who have attended these classes after buying a house or car. If you've got a special talent or skill, this might be a place for you to offer to teach a class. I've got a few friends doing this and its been a great way to meet others in the LGBT community. 

5. Travel events and conferences. Seems like a no-brainer right? Well, because it is but have you thought about it? Consider LGBT travel like Olivia Cruises is celebrating 40 years as the lesbian destination for travel and vacation fun. Eco-travel company Sweet is new to the ranks for lesbians but it's a great concept to be vacationing with a gaggle of gay girls and also making a difference for the environment, children or animals in a community you are visiting.

There's a great LGBT family focused business called R Family Vacations that caters to LGBT families and single LGBT people with kids. And yes, LGBT travel events are great places to meet other single parents. We