A lesbian reached out online for friendship – around 400 queer people showed up

The Big Queer Picnic in London offers the LGBTQ+ community the chance to make new friend

A lesbian Londoner who reached out on TikTok for friendship has created a regular community picnic for queer people after 400 people showing up to hang out with her. 

Abi Smith, the founder of The Big Queer Picnic, managed to bring together hundreds of members of the LGBTQ+ community in London after posting on TikTok about being lonely.

Taking to the platform on Monday (1 April), Smith shared a reel highlighting her success in being able to bring people together regularly after being shocked at the initial response to her call-out.

Her newfound friendships were formed after she posted on TikTok three years ago, “saying I was a little lonely, that I needed more queer friends” and that she would sit on a picnic blanket in Hyde Park if anyone wanted to be her friend and hang out. 

“And around 400 queers turned up to show me what community was,” she wrote on a second slide. 

“I started running queer picnics all summer, a totally free, fun and inclusive event for queer people to make friends with each other in a place where all of us are welcomed.” 

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Smith added that the picnics aim to “centre queer women, trans and non-binary people”. She said cis men are also welcome, but she asks that “they hold space for more marginalised groups”. 

The Big Queer Picnic, Smith wrote, is “firmly pro trans, and welcome and love trans people at the picnics”. 

In November 2023, Transgender Europe (TGEU) – a network of more than 200 trans-rights organisations – published its 2023 Trans Rights Map. The map ranked the UK as one of the worst places in Europe and Centra Asia to be trans. 

The UK’s low score for transgender rights came shortly after anti-trans comments at this year’s Conservative Party conference, including Prime minister Rishi Sunak said: “A man is a man, and a woman is a woman, that’s just common sense”. 

Smith concluded of her initiative: “We get together, eat snacks, play games and meet new people. We even have befriending volunteers that help solo travellers find people to hang out with.” 

On Instagram the picnic’s page has more than 3,400 followers, and it has now branched out to offer after party’s, with the next due to be held on Saturday, 13 April.