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Your Disco Needs You! How to support Nottingham's LGBT+ Community

7 April 20 words: Caroline Barry

It’s a bad time for many things at the moment as Nottingham remains in lockdown. There are so many jobs, performers, charities, communities and sex workers that are at risk...

I’ve been thinking where the current climate leaves us, Nottingham’s gay community in our post-‘post apopalopic’ challenge. Less then six months ago, I wrote about the exciting times in our society with a choice of bars as I grew all too accustomed to the new shower of drink offers on display. I immersed myself in our new meet-up groups (gaming and bowling are just two) and threw caution to the wind investing in tickets to all the amazing gay comedy gigs and drag performances out there.

Now all that is either gone or on pause.

I want to take this chance to remind the gay community that we need to rise up because, once again, our discos will truly need us.

The power of the pink pound is renowned across the world as we make up a strong sector of drinkers, spenders, eaters, theatre goers and much more. For every straight person at the theatre (I believe I saw one once) there are two gays enjoying a Wednesday night Pinot Grigio.

The thing is, our pubs and clubs are so much more than a community. They fund people. It’s fairly safe to say that there are bar people, managers and owners that are queer and need our support, but it goes far deeper. There are performers, drag queens, DJs who are also employed in these venues. It goes further again in that some of our community use these bars as a safe venue for sex work.

It’s not easy right now given so many of us, myself very much included, have lost jobs, homes and loved ones while we fight Coronavirus, get to grips with lockdown and our new lifestyles. There will come a time when this will lift and we will be back in our Birkenstocks (or Balenciaga - whatever your fashion) and out on the streets wondering how we ever spoke to strangers. It’s now more important than ever to get back into our venues and make them work again.

Our venues are more than bars. We all know the ones and they need us now. It's community centres, support centres, youth clubs, alternative cinemas, bars, restaurants and so much more. Our drag queens need bums on seats to keep performing too.

This will go away if we don’t work for it.

So here is my throw down to my community, as a non binary dyke, lets SOS - Save our scene. Let’s support queer businesses, not Wetherspoons, let’s volunteer to improve the lives of our LGBT+ family who are really struggling. Let’s get up and out.

It’s also okay not to be okay. It’s okay to not be able to volunteer or financially be in the clubs. It’s not easy to do something as there are so many stresses at the moment. It is enough to mind yourself, stay healthy, self care and check in with your gay family via Whatsapp but can we also please check in with those less healthy or more vulnerable than ourselves? Those with HIV/AIDs, immune disorders, those suffering in violent situations, our queer elders, those with health issues or those with drug or substance abuse issues. Also with anyone working in the sex industry who may be struggling right now.

Let’s support queer businesses, not Wetherspoons, let’s volunteer to improve the lives of our LGBT+ family who are really struggling. Let’s get up and out.

All I am asking is that when the lock down is lifted, we keep in mind these:

Rough Trade Drag Bingo hosted by Marilyn Sane and Nana Arthole 

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Broadway Cinema for general queer cinema (and wine) 

Nonsuch studios performance space for events including gay comedy

Nottingham Contemporary for their drag nights and scene support

DirtyFilthySexy, a drag collective, for their amazing drag performances from queens, DJs and musicians

JT Soar space for booking queer performers

Fan Club, a women and non binary collective, for booking and putting on queer performance and ensuring safe spaces 

Fortune and Glory Film Club for putting on LGBT classics across the city with killer goodie bags

Shady Cow collective for booking events and putting on queer performances and ensuring safe spaces usually in Rough Trade 

The New Foresters bar for general LGBT+-ness 

The Lord Roberts bar for general LGBT+ drinks, drag and much more: 

Reel Equality for their screenings that focus on equality, fairness and telling the stories of under represented in film 

Nottingham LGBT+ Board Game FB group 

Five Leaves for their events and incredible book selection 

Equation for their work with LGBT+ domestic violence 

Nottinghamshire Queer Bulletin - an email round up of local gay news 

Framework for their their tireless work with those in need  

Notts Hyking Dyke - Ladies what organise walks

Nottingham Ladies 20/30s FB group for meet ups and drinks 

Nana Arthole - Musician, podcaster and drag artist 

Marilyn Sane - drag artist and podcaster 

Glitterhawk - Drag artist and DFS mother of the house

Scream Queenz - Nottingham drag comedy group

Barmpots - An LGBT owned plant pot treasure trove

Atterby Designs - An LGBT owned jewelry maker

Queer Noise Club -  An experimental queer club

I am but one non binary woman. If you know of an act, venue or business supporting LGBT+ activity then please let me know on [email protected] or tweet me (because lets face it, I exist on twitter) @Mizzpennydreadf Also, if any of the above i information is incorrect, just let me know. 

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