Closure of Her Upstairs underscores need for safe spaces, writes Camden LGBT Forum member
- Credit: Harry Taylor
With the recent closure of Her Upstairs, Camden now has no LGBT+ venue left.
While many of the borough’s large LGBTQ+ community may feel perfectly comfortable attending the non-LGBT+ venues in the area there is no longer a distinct, inclusive and safe space in which to meet.
LGBT+ groups and Camden Council recognise the need for such spaces. At a time of rising hate crime, of social isolation and loneliness, there continues to be a need for community venues.
Camden LGBT Forum used Case and Outreach sessions at Her Upstairs (and previously at The Black Cap) to engage with and to reach out to the local LGBT+ community.
While non-LGBT+ venues may support and value the work of LGBT+ groups, they cannot provide the same opportunity for interaction.
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The abrupt closure of Her Upstairs and continued closure of The Black Cap pub also mean that a Camden’s LGBT+ community has nowhere to attend where performance and queer identities can be celebrated in a unique and inclusive environment.
This rich, diverse and important history and culture of cabaret and live performance deserves venues and arenas where it can thrive.
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The wider issue of gentrification has seen Camden, once famed around the world for its diverse culture and community, lose much of what made it special.
Venues where creativity is celebrated, where artists and performers meet, are a vital part of the area’s identity.
Camden Council has been very supportive of the work of Camden LGBT Forum. Cllr Jonathan Simpson recently stated that: “The council is absolutely committed to working with its very vibrant LGBT community. Camden and Islington were really where lesbian and gay rights had its bases.”
Meanwhile LGBT+ organisations and campaigns continue to work in finding a solution to securing venues for the LGBT+ community.