Where do we go now? LGBT+ venues

Our LGBT+ Lawyers Division discusses the value, purpose and ultimate decline of LGBT+ specific venues alongside legal issues around the closures.

With COVID-19 restrictions easing, and physical Pride celebrations this year becoming more and more likely, it’s worth considering the importance of LGBT+ venues.

Many of the locations we've seen close across the country, due to a number of factors, have impacted many aspects of LGBT+ life – affecting the number of safe spaces to socialise, network and belong.

It’s probable that many physical locations, high streets and offices will change and transform post-pandemic as society has adapted to a significantly more virtual way of life. But what does this mean for the future of LGBT+ venues?

Listen to the podcast:

The audio quality of this recording is affected by internet connectivity issues.


Ben Campkin

Ben CampkinBen Campkin is professor of history and theory of architecture and urbanism at the Bartlett School of Architecture and co-director of UCL Urban Laboratory. He is the author of Remaking London: Decline and Regeneration in Urban Culture (2013), which won the 2015 Jane Jacobs Urban Communication Foundation Award.

Ben’s recent publications include the co-edited collections Sexuality and Gender at Home: Experience, Politics, Transgression (Bloomsbury, 2017) and ‘LGBTQ+ Night-Spaces: Past, Present, Future’, Urban Pamphleteer (2016), and the reports LGBTQ+ Cultural Infrastructure in London: Night Venues, 2006-present (2016) and LGBTQ+ Spaces in Camden, 1986-present, co-authored with Lo Marshall, which have informed the mayor and local authorities’ approaches to planning policy and practice.

Chris Barkley

Chris BarkleyChris Barkley is senior associate in the commercial property team at Goodman Derrick LLP. Chris’ practice involves working with landlords, tenants, developers, funders.

Chris lives in Stoke Newington in London and used to go to a number of now closed gay venues in East London such as the Joiners Arms and George and Dragon.

Helen Randall

Helen Randall is a consultant and the former head of diversity at Trowers & Hamlins LLP, where she specialises in public sector corporate and commercial law.

She is also the chair of Stonewall Housing, a specialist LGBT+ housing charity and is married to the former co-owner of First Out Café Bar, an iconic queer venue operating between 1985 and 2011.

Ewan Watson

Ewan Watson is a member of the Law Society’s LGBT+ Committee. He works as a solicitor in the in-house legal team at Warner Bros., specialising in TV licensing and distribution.

Ewan lives with his husband in North London.


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