In The Middle • Issue 13 - 24/02/17

Page 9


LGBTQ Clubbing Leeds

In celebration of LGBTQ+ History Month, Janine Roberts summarises Leeds’ selection of LGBTQ+ focused clubbing... “I want to take you to a gay bar,” Electric Six infamously announced in their 2003 hit, and,if you’re part of the LGBTQ+ community – or have been somewhat on the curious side at least – you have most likely dreamed of getting up on a podium at a gay bar and celebrating your sexuality. Fortunately, if this sounds familiar, then have no fear, because Leeds has a gleaming gay scene right in the middle of the city centre.

However, no community is without its downfalls. Gay bars have the tendency to cater most efficiently for gay men. This is what made the Union’s decision to introduce the new female LGBTQ+ club night ‘Scissors’ so important. The Union has provided a space for gay and bisexual women to express their identity.

Throughout the rise of the LGBTQ+ movement, it has always been gay bars that have been at the forefront of gay and trans liberation. It was at the Stonewall gay The Leeds gay scene is varied and important. The bar in America in which the infamous Stonewall New Penny has been awarded a heritage award for Riots – the ‘Rosa Parks moment’ of LGBTQ+ “Gay bars have the tendency to cater liberation – took place, and thus beginning the its contributions to the LGBTQ+ community. Said to be the longest running gay bar in the country, the visibility of the LGBTQ+ movement. When the most efficiently for gay men. This prolific venue goes to show that Leeds knows how to Pulse nightclub was attacked last June, part of its is what made the Union’s decision to significance lay in the fact that the target was a do it right. On the other end of the gay bar spectrum, Fibre has been described on Trip Adviser as the most gay nightclub. In a minority history that has been introduce the new female LGBTQ+ ‘pretentious gay bar in the UK’. As someone who so dependent on nightlife, the attacking of such a club night ‘Scissors’ so important.” embodies the definition of ‘pretentious English Lit place symbolised an attack on not only the current student’, you can find me on the dance floor of Fibre LGBTQ+ community, but an attack on its history letting my full pretentiousness out of the closet. and the sheer significance of these safe spaces. The attack reminded us that even these so commonly thought of ‘safe spaces’ can still subjected to the external Viaduct is perhaps one of the most loved gay bars in the city wand has welcomed gaze of homophobia. Just because LGBTQ rights have professed profusely since several of the UK’s biggest drag artists over the year’s. It is bold, bright and it is the 1960s, it doesn’t mean the battle for equality is over. very, very queer. Exiting through the Viaduct smoking area you will find yourself at Mission 2, which opens its doors to the Whether you’ve spent your whole life in the closet and want to let loose or just LGBTQ+ community on Monday and Saturday nights with events such as ‘Werk’ want to express your sexuality, then Leeds’ gay scene is welcoming environment. and ‘Cloud 9’. Mission’s transformation into a gay club includes various podiums Going to a gay bar for the first time can be a truly exciting experience. However, for you to get your freak on and is a not necessarily common knowledge amongst the opportunity to be in a place in which you know that your identity is being students. However, these gay club nights provide LGBTQ+ individuals with a club celebrated, is one that every LGBTQ+ person should experience. environment, rather than the more bar-to-club atmosphere at many of Leeds’ Janine Roberts other gay bars.

Bongo’s Bingo If I could give you one word of advice for a night at Bongo’s Bingo, don’t make a false call. You may be two bottles of wine down, the numbers on the book in front of you may be swimming on the page, and you may be fixated on winning that pink fluffy unicorn... But if you shout bingo too soon the entire room will shout ‘dickhead’ at you. Take it from someone who learnt the hard way. In normal circumstances, having over 200 people calling you a dickhead simultaneously might be classed as quite a traumatising incident, but in the raucous atmosphere of the bingo hall, it’s all part of the experience. The venue was packed to the brim with bingogoers eager to get their hands on the coveted pink unicorn or 23-inch dildo. Arrive early to make sure to grab a table – last entry is at 7.30pm so prepare for an early dinner and an even earlier pre-drinks as Canal Mills is pretty pricey and try to get as near to the front as possible. From our table near the back we could barely hear Jonny Bongo, resident DJ and bingo caller, explaining the rules. As Mr Bongo himself said in our recent interview with him, the atmosphere is almost impossible to describe. One minute you’ll be up on the benches dancing to the Vengaboys or ‘Year 3000’, the next minute you’ll be furiously trying to concentrate on the numbers being called.

The Gryphon team headed down to Bongos Bingo for a night of dance offs, false calls and glowsticks...

Although there a fair few opportunities to bag prizes, there’s also a pretty high chance you’ll leave the night with nothing, but you’ll have so much fun in the process you won’t care. Unless of course, you lose in an on stage dance off to win £500 (the preferred method to decide who takes home the cash when there are two callers). You can do the worm, you can do a slut drop, you can even whip your shirt off and swing it in the air, but if the cheers aren’t loud enough you’ll walk away with nothing. One certain member of The Gryphon team certainly wasn’t happy... Bongo’s Bingo is a fantastic and unique night. There is really nothing quite like dancing with glow sticks on benches to some 90s rave music before cracking on with some good old fashioned bingo. But it is undoubtedly an event catered towards large groups and large characters. I for one could not have been tempted in to a dance off on stage no matter how drunk I was. Leave your inhibitions (and your dignity) behind, and Bongos Bingo will be a night you’re unlikely to forget. Bongos Bingo takes place every Wednesday at Canal Mills. Head to for more info. Jessica Murray Independent Leeds