Tag Archives: London Scene

LGBTQI Tour in London Teaching People their History

Last year, during my visit in London, I tripped ever so woefully somewhere in my planning process, ending up on leaving two consecutive Sundays for visiting Gay’s the Word (and the hours it was closed, since I learnt this year that it does open for several hours on Sundays).

I walked in front of the closed bookshop twice and stuck my face on the glass all two times, like a kiddie lusting over Christmas window shopping. This year, I returned on a Sunday as well, but I had the wits to at least make sure I’d find it open.

Visiting the LGBT bookshop I had seen in the 2014 Pride movie and hosted the meetings of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners in 1984-1985, as well as many other London organizations’ meetings, was about more than the two poetry books and one fiction book on GNC I returned home with. It was the feeling of feet stepping of history, even if I was doing it with the little-to-no research my schedule allowed and in an amateurish way.

I’m extremely interested in LGBT history, in learning parts of how we got where we are and reflecting on how we can write more of it. Still, even if I don’t have enough time or knowledge to learn about all the important LGBT spots of a place I visit, I’m really keen on making the effort to fit it all and learning new things. And now, more than a month of being back in Greece and already preparing a history month to learn more about the LGBTQI history of our country and honour its protagonists, I read about the first organized Queer Tour of LGBT History taking place in London, run by activists.

But why is such a tour so necessary in London right now? Comparatively to other regions, haven’t things got relatively better? I do realize that such an assumption is simplistic enough, and such comparisons always fail to reflect reality. As an outsider, I found it interesting to learn more about the current situation in London.

The far-right politicians in the UK have adopted a pinkwashing agenda to gain the support of more voters. Their seemingly pro-LGBT stance is supposed to throw shade on their racism and islamophobia, particularly towards refugees. Coburn, who is UKIP’s MEP and most senior gay figure, incorporated this part of his identity in his prejudiced rhetoric to somehow cover the bigoted things he wanted to say:

Many of these people, as we’ve heard, are ISIS. I don’t know about you but I’m a homosexual and I don’t want to be stoned to death.”


One of the biggest factors that led the UK to Brexit, was the systematic sparking of racist and nationalist feelings of the people. With racist attacks on the rise, the situation in the UK right now is not all that ideal. In fact, mainstreaming LGBT issues in order to serve a conservative agenda, has started being formed into a pattern in several regions of the Western world, America, “alternative-right”, and Trump’s supporter and racist, sexist, openly gay vomit-machine Milo Yiannopoulos, forming a strong example. (Just. Don’t get me started on that. At least the original Draco Malfoy’s bleach work was better, and at least he wasn’t a terrible misogynist.)

David Cameron left Downing Street this year after six years, and we need to consider the legacy that his government left behind. Even though equal marriage legislation passed, Cameron’s austerity measures have had a terrible impact on the lives of LGBT people.

As this Independent article demonstrates, the voluntary and community sector of LGBT people are suffering from the cuts of staffing, services and budgets, in a time of great need for such services and safe spaces, especially for intersectional groups that support trans, bisexual, disabled and BME LGBT people. Still, one of the most threatening issues is no other than LGBT homelessness. According to the Albert Kennedy Trust, 24% of homeless youth identify as LGBT and, consequently, mentally-ill, victims of sexual exploitation and violence. Also, according to a 2014 report by Stonewall Housing, access to homelessness services for LGBT people was made even harder because of discrimination, especially towards trans people. Additionally, the Tory education “reform” has allowed schools to decide on whether they’re going to include LGBT-inclusive sex and relationships education, according to their either conventional or more progressive “ethos”.

One also cannot overlook the fact that many of the refugees chased and alienated by the former government are LGBT, and comments derived by the homonationalist agenda are offensive in all possible ways. About 98% of LGBT asylum-seekers are deported from the UK, according to a research held by the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group. Theresa May, former home secretary who oversaw these deportation has managed to stay in history as an “unsung hero” of LGBT rights, as for David Cameron, he outrageously enough won 2016 Ally of the Year award of the PinkNews website.

Queer Tours of London – A Mince Through Time’ is the subtitle presented on their original website. They are starting off on February 2017 and their main aim is to demonstrate, through visiting the most important landmarks of London LGBT history, how people came to be where they stand today, despite the constant boycotting coming from places of power, with the most indicative example being that of the recent Cameron government trying to take credit for “solving the Gay problem”. On the Tours official website, they state quite clearly why they think that such an initiative is deemed necessary in our days: people not only need more LGBTQI events hosted by communities they can interact with and fit in, but they also need to gain power through knowledge, forming a concrete idea of the past in order to build a future on their own terms. Furthermore, Queer Tours of London will offer jobs to LGBTQI homeless people, sex workers, LGBTQI people of colour and queer activists facing deportation, as speak-people in tour groups.

The tour crew point out that in a span of five years 25% of LGBT nightclubs have been shut down, HIV education and prevention measures are being suppressed while diagnoses numbers rise, hate crimes happen every day, mental health services are closing down and LGBT migrants are in an even graver danger, while there is obviously no social housing plans, community centers or museums that cater specifically to LGBTQI rights. This is why such an initiative can play a crucial role in the education, empowerment and mobilization of queer Londoners, visitors and allies.

As we read on this Vice article, landmark points of the future tours will include Mother Clap’s molly-house, a gathering point for 18th century cross-dressers, the Admiral Duncan pub where, in 1999, three queer people were killed by a neo-Nazi bomb that has been turned into a chandelier. Queer heroes and heroines who gave their lives in their battle for rights and liberation will also be remembered in the tour. They will pay a tribute to the Lesbian Avengers, the Gay Liberation Front and its Radical Drag Queens.

We may not all understand Foucault and the different applications and interpretations of his philosophy, but knowledge is undoubtedly power, especially if it helps us understand and recreate our identity in our own terms, especially when Power with capital P and all its systematic forms of oppression try to token themselves clear and appropriate it for us. Such initiatives are extremely important for raising awareness, empowering LGBTQI people and bringing the community together.

‘She’s In London’ is the UK’s First LBQ Web Series

In the past few years, we’ve enjoyed binge watching our way through several fabulous LGBTQ web series.

There’s the likes of Carmilla, the vampire/human love story, the hilarious Plus One which has got plenty of friendship drama, and there’s Rent Controlled about a difficult living situation and a difficult personal life.

What these three web series (as well as so many others) have in common,though, is that they’re all set in North America, with there being no web series that represent queer life on this side of the pond. But that’s what Tello Films’ new series She’s In London aims to fix.

As the title denotes, this one’s set in the English capital and it “follows the fight to save a lesbian bar from closure by the Soho gentrification brigade”.

Gentrification is a serious issue for the LGBTQ community in the capital right now, with many queer establishments being either bought out or squeezed out of the city/out of existence as pricier developments pop up all around them, so She’s In London’s plot line is true to the city it’s set in.

She’s In London isn’t just about lesbian and bi women protesting, handing out some leaflets and starting a Twitter hashtag or two, though, as there’s plenty of drama within the group that’s trying to save the bar.

For example, Theo, who works at the bar, gets involved with Mel. Mel, as well as being the ex of Theo’s best friend, Sam, also happens to be the developer who’s trying to get the bar shut down, so you can understand that that throws a spanner, if not the entire flippin’ tool box into the works.

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Those who’ve seen She’s In London‘s six episodes mostly have positive things to say – it’s the first globally distributed LBQ series, it’s made by London’s LGBT community and there are several UK LBQ artists on the soundtrack too.

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They also say that it does a good job of representing a real struggle that London’s LGBTQ community is facing, even if it doesn’t do a great job of representing London’s LGBTQ community itself.

Indeed, one of the biggest criticisms of She’s In London is that the cast is overwhelmingly white, with just one person of colour (a black woman) on the cast, and she plays a supporting role.

That’s not particularly indicative of how multicultural London is at all, which is a shame, but hopefully the show’s producers will consider this should She’s In London get a second season.

She’s In London premiered on Tello Films on Sunday, September 27. Episodes will be released weekly and you can access them with a Tello Films subscription (around £3 a month).


The Missfit’s Carnival – London’s Newest Lesbian Night

Tomorrow night is Carnival Night, so today we made it our mission to meet up with one-half of the fantastic duo behind the lesbian event taking London by storm – Effi Mai.

KitschMix: So, guys who are Missfit? Can your tell our readers more about the team behind the events?

Effi Mai: Missfit started last year when my flatmate (Sandra Davenport) and I wanted to do more for the queer girl scene. We wanted to put on nights that didn’t have to cost the earth, and create something where everyone would feel comfortable – could have a good dance, and drink some tequila.

KM: And the name?

EM: The name was Sandra’s idea, a few drinks and boom – Missfit.

KM: So, it was drink inspired?

EM: No – not at all. If you’re part of LGBTQ scene, you’ll know we’re all different. We’re individuals, we’re brilliant, but we can be considered Missfit by the rest of society. So that’s how the name and the event came about.

KM: So what events do the Missfit put on?

We do a monthly club night, which is actually called ‘Missfit’, where we play the songs people want to dance and sing along too. This event appears randomly all over London.

Otherwise we do big nights – like the Lesbian Prom, which was on in March and now the Queer Carnival, which is on tomorrow at Scala, London.

KM: And whom would you say your events for?

Our events are for everyone and anyone. Even with the word Lesbian in the title we had allsorts attending the Prom – some up at the front drooling over CharliXCX and others at the bar making their own cocktails.

I think the lines have blurred a lot more now on the lesbian scene – the scene is less divided. We just have a no dickheads policy. If you’re a dickhead, you’re out.

KM: So what is it about Missfit that makes the nights different from other lesbian club nights in London?

We don’t just do club nights where there’s Djs and drinks. We like to mix it up and add a little extra to the night – like having amazing performers such as Neon Jungle, Ms Dynamite, Heather Peace and Chvrches.

KM: What made you decide to put on a Carnival night?

EM: I love fairgrounds and rides and toffee apples and all that jam, so it sounded like a fun event to do. It’s definitely more than a club night. Neon Jungle will be performing in all their glittered glory and we have the glorious Bela Takes Chase headlining. They’ll be a few more surprises, but I’ll stop there, because I’m really bad at keeping secrets. It only takes a small shot of vodka to get them out of me. Lets just say the night will make its mark.

KM: At Carnival you are collaborating with some popular lesbian nights – Ruby Tuesday, Bar Wotever and Domo. What made you want to join forces?

EM: We thought Bar Wotever definitely had the twisted gender-queer the Carnival theme was after. DOMO is one of my favourite nights, so I wanted them involved, and with Ruby Tuesdays, well we wanted to bring the soho scene in as well and mix it up. We don’t have to be all separate. Lets all throw our glitter in the air like we just don’t care.

KM: Has working with different promoters been a challenge or well received?

Our rooms are pretty separate, so they’re in charge of their own room and we’ll just hope it comes together! And then I only have one room to worry about and I don’t have to start freaking out.

KM: Will Carnival be a regular event?

EM: Yes! As long as no one chokes in glitter at this one, we’ll do another next year.

KM: Lesbian Prom was a massive success, are their plans to do another one?

EM: Yes we will be doing another Prom next year too. Which is just enough time for me to find a dress. Just.

KM: Why do feel it is so important for you to hold these events?

EM: We wanted to bring the scenes together and there’s just not enough for girls on the scene at all. Last week we were all in Soho and after 1, there was nowhere for us to go. I wanted to dance until the early hours of the morning, not sulk home on the N73 drinking vodka and cranberry from a can. I put on heels and everything!

KM: What does the future look like for Missfit?

EM: We want to do a lot more events and we have a lot of different sort of stuff planned for the end of the year.

KM: Do you have plans to hold any events outside of London?

EM: When we take over the world yes. Being Welsh, I would like Cardiff to be our first stop. I’ll bring the glitter.

Carnival is coming this Friday 23rd May…

Scala – 275 Pentonville Road, Kings cross, N1 9NL London, United Kingdom

Buy your tickets here

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Queer Fashion | East End London Scene

If London were a quilt, its East End would be that offbeat patch stitched into its far side, made up of bright colours and multiple patterns. Strangely enough, this clash of differences works together harmoniously.  Both an array of immigrants and creative types call it home, and the area is constantly pulsating with their energy. The very best thing about East London, though, is how the locals’ style is both exciting and laid back. Does it sound like a contradiction? Perhaps, but let us explain. Clothing has been an intricate part of the East End’s economy since the rag trade began there in the 17th century. It’s certainly a part of London that knows its style. But unlike other parts of the city, the unspoken rules of fashion are much more relaxed, which makes it easier for East Enders to be inventive with their wardrobes.

So, if you walk through one of the East End’s many street markets, you’ll find everything from students with brightly coloured tights (and hair) to middle-aged artists in fur coats and combat boots. The ladies of the East End tend to follow this mantra: more is more (is more). More mixing prints, more septum-style nose rings, more metal embellishments, more butch boot buckles, more bright lip colours. Other cities might bemoan this style philosophy, but the East End embraces contrasts and creativity.

If you’d like to shop like an East Ender, markets are a must. At Brick Lane Market, you’ll find a real smorgasbord of assortments, but that’s pretty representative of the East End itself. Some shops are filled with unique pieces and secondhand stock, and others are prime locations for bargains if you’re up for a haggle.

The East End is also chock-full of independent designers. Take Illustrated People, for instance. Their collections are bold and distinctive, from the nineties-inspired art prints to a pattern they’ve named “shark polka.” Stop by Kate Sheridan’s shop for its offbeat accessories that just ooze cool or the East End Thrift Store off Mile End for some really satisfying vintage steals. If you’d rather take a note from the locals and put together your own outfit from scratch, go visit the Hand-weavers Studio for an array of resources, from yarns to dyes, fleeces to fibres. It’s probably pretty obvious by now: here at KitschMix, we love the East End. Fashion is all about freedom of expression, and there’s no better place to embrace your differences than the most engaging district in one of the world’s greatest cities.

Coming Soon, an in Depth Look at London’s Drag Queen Scene

On March 31 a new channel London Live will launch in the UK, and with this launch comes a new twist to reality TV, which is planning to give all other reality shows a run for their money. Entitled Drag Queens of London, the show will feature the “dramatic double lives and sensational secrets” of the capital city’s drag queen scene. 

The Standard reports that one of the show’s stars, Lady Lloyd, said of it, “There’ll be more glamour and drama than all those shows put together!”

The show, which is described as an “observational documentary” will air eight episodes following the lives of a selection of drag queens.

“The world of the London Drag Queen isn’t exactly as you would imagine… These are incredibly talented artists, but they’re real people as well, and sometimes the drama isn’t just on the stage. Drag Queens Of London is the first of what we hope will be many shows where audiences are introduced to unexpected and unknown subcultures that exist in London. I want other people with their own unusual stories to come and talk to us as well.”

Jonathan Boseley, Head of Programming for London Live


If you want to know more – and even submit your own ideas for a show on the new channel – then click here to go to its website.