LGBT+ Club Culture: How (do) people of colour navigate Queer Nightlife

Queer night life – inclusive or not? Starting my own nightlife platform made me understand the segregation between partiers.
akeilonwukweakeilonwukwe
Jun. 9, 2020
campaign, cherie
Cherie is an online community of beauty lovers sharing their stories; whether that's their favorite products, makeup tutorials, or skincare routines. Download the app today to be a part of #BeautyWithoutBarriers and show the world what beauty means to you!London is an incredible hub for nightlife, with many fantastic queer spots across the entire city. Nightlife, for some, is paramount and essential to their queer experience and development; meeting new people, expanding your circle. Club nights can sometimes mean the difference between building your queer foundation and not feeling like you belong. As LGBTQ+ people, we don’t have many other options and opportunities to create connections.Does everyone belong? In London, venues such as Heaven and Dalston Superstore offer amazing environments for queer people to party safely, but is it comfortable and safe for everyone in the community? As a man of colour, I had always felt the sense that these nights were never made for me, or, at least, had never had me in mind - that these institutions were built to accommodate white gay men. It’s worth noting that it’s even harder as a queer woman. Many of these venues are catered to, and for, gay men. Starting my own platformI started my platform, Queer Bruk, as a response to this feeling. I wanted to create a space that was centred around the experience of queer people of colour, to add to the few nights that already existed that spoke to Black culture. I wanted to start something that was part of a movement steered towards inclusivity. It was my own little way of bridging the gap between Afro-Caribbean music and the queer nightlife scene. Safe spaces and the development of communityMy events have given me the privilege of meeting some amazing people who value the space as a safe haven, an oasis for minorities. Isioma from London explains that ‘POC nights in the UK are important and essential for community and a feeling of comfort. Queer People of colour are a minority in the UK and often have to overcome daily obstacles to fit in. Having nights and spaces where they can be themselves and feel comfortable shouldn’t be a novelty experience, it should be a given- but it isn’t yet’. It’s clear that queer POC nights are fundamental, as there are less places for QPOC to be accepted than their white counterparts. Getting the opportunity to have an enjoyable and safe night should not be a luxury, it should be a given - and this cannot be unrecognised. For many, the racism that pervades the LGBTQ+ community shuts them out and creates a sense of loneliness. That’s why we wanted Queer Bruk to have a feeling of family. Every event we do always feels like a big family gathering, a big party filled with chosen cousins, chosen brothers, sisters, aunties and uncles. Because all of us share lived experiences, and collectively feel rejection and exclusion from the wider community, we are brought closer together. Ike explains that ‘POC nightlife spaces (especially queer ones) are super important to me. It's great to feel safe and free from judgement when I'm out partying’ – we cannot underestimate the power of LGBTQ+ spaces, their history, and their importance in the growth of a community. Equally, nights for people of colour are so important for the development and safety of black and brown queer people; preserving the intersectionality of their identities.The future of nightlife is here, and it’s growingClub culture is one of the cornerstones to the queer experience, but for many years it has failed to give space to ALL people in the community. More and more we are seeing incredible events popping up for trans people, for sober queers, nights solely dedicated to queer women. What this means is that everyone has a safe environment to party, engage with each other, and feel a sense of belonging.
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