Throughout this project, I have had the opportunity to meet with many fellow LGBTQ+ people, uncovering what the term ‘Queer Spaces’ means to them and what we hope for the future of them. I really wanted to finish this guide with some of the inspiring quotes I’ve collected over conversations with members of our community. Categorised into key themes, we explore what the future of our queer spaces may hold, and what we can do better as a community to create more lasting and meaningful spaces.
“If I didn’t have my online spaces throughout high-school I don’t know how I would have gotten through it. People are way more supportive online, I’ve made connections with people like me in many different ways. With my phone, I have access to a Queer Space wherever I am.”
The digital realm has already played a significant role in connecting LGBTQ+ individuals, especially those in less accepting or remote areas. Young people especially highlight the importance of online spaces, where they can find friendship, connection and support - often contrasting the queer-phobic and oppressive environments that schools and in some cases family dynamics create. Virtual queer spaces, including social media, dating apps and online support groups, are likely to continue evolving. These spaces provide a sense of community, empowerment, information sharing and support, despite location or distance.
“The only other Queer Asian friend I had in my home town was my twin. Haus of Chan came out of necessity. Creating this space came from not having one. It is so healing to now have a space for Queer, Non-binary, Trans and Asian people, but I still wish we had more.”
Recognising that LGBTQ+ individuals have diverse identities, experiences and needs, our future queer spaces should aim to be more welcoming and affirming - especially to people of colour, transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, people with disabilities and other marginalised groups within the LGBTQ+ community. Liverpool is already home to a variety of diverse LGBTQ+ spaces, but as our spaces continue to evolve, we must give space to those who are often underrepresented. As queer people, we already understand the power that connecting with people like us gives to us - this continues to remain of importance for marginalised groups within our community.
“Pride is a protest. We love marching as part of it every year and we always try to bring with it an agenda or campaign. LGBTQ+ marriage is something we want to adopt in the church and it is something we have campaigned for, for a while. Pride helps us to feel empowered, visible and supported. We need to make sure that our community-led organisations have at least the same, if not more space at pride than corporations have.”
Many LGBTQ+ spaces and events have seen increased corporate sponsorship and involvement. While this can bring financial support and visibility, it also raises questions about the commercialisation of queer culture and the potential for corporate interests to overshadow the community’s needs and values. We should always remain cautious of sponsorship and ensure that our relationships with corporations serve to improve the lives of our community and not appropriate it for commercial gain.
“I think in a way, we should hope that we don’t need Queer Spaces anymore - we don’t have to live on edge in hetero spaces, we can just go somewhere and not live in fear - but also, as great as that would be, Queer people will always need their own spaces. We need to feel safe and empowered. Queer spaces should exist not out of necessity, but desire. We should want to be a community, not only creating spaces out of hiding from hate and rejection.”
“We need to reclaim our community spaces. We need more things like Comic Youth, Homotopia, Sahir House, GYRO - just to name a few. We need more spaces where we can meet up, generate ideas, skill share and just exist. It’s also about reclaiming our traditions. So many of our spaces are focused on drinking alcohol, which is fine, but there are many ways to do things and many ways that Queer people exist”
While virtual spaces are growing in popularity and hetero-normative spaces have made vast improvements in becoming more accepting, physical queer spaces remain vital. They create space for us to connect with people like us - with a focus on celebrating queer-joy and understanding our identities. These spaces may include community centres, bars, clubs, and safe spaces where people can gather and connect in person. The challenge is to ensure that these physical spaces remain inclusive, safe and accessible to everyone - including those who may feel marginalised or excluded from the community.
“Liverpool’s outer towns need more LGBTQ+ spaces. I feel safe in the city centre because I can see people like me and can exist within its many safe spaces - but in my hometown, I often have to hide my queerness. I shouldn’t have to travel for ages to feel safe. Young people shouldn’t have to move towns to feel safe.”
“Most current LGBTQ+ spaces are in the city centre. This is positive in some ways, but they leave young people in more remote areas isolated, or, having to find transport costs which can be expensive and prohibitive for some.”
In many urban areas, there has been an increase in the visibility and accessibility of queer spaces. These spaces are often concentrated in areas known for their diverse and accepting communities. However, rural areas may still lack such spaces, making accessibility challenging for those living outside major metropolitan centers.
Young people are especially hit hard by this, often having to travel far to access LGBTQ+ spaces, and those who can’t afford to often feel isolated in their home communities. It is so important that we develop ways of creating visibility for queer people within these more isolated locations.
“I feel like the older LGBT+ generation don’t really have anywhere to go anymore. It often feels like there’s nothing for us. Many of them are lonely, they don’t have partners or family to turn to. When I was younger and on the scene, we would be in these bars with the older queens. They were an important resource to us, they looked out for you and they taught us a lot. Today, you get the piss taken out of you for being around younger people. We need more spaces for our generation - as well as space to support those younger.”
Multi-generational spaces provide an opportunity for older LGBTQ+ individuals to share their stories and experiences with younger generations. This helps to preserve the history and struggles of the LGBTQ+ community, ensuring that important stories are not forgotten over time. Often, many older LGBTQ+ generations reflect on how LGBTQ+ bars and clubs used to welcome a diverse range of age groups, where a strong community presence existed. Today, these connections are less frequent, with a stigma often existing around older generations hanging around those who are younger. Younger LGBTQ+ individuals benefit from the wisdom, guidance, and mentorship of queer elders. In these spaces, younger people can find role models and receive advice on various aspects of life, including coming out, career choices, and building healthy relationships.
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