Bristol is a City with over 250 community facilities, yet not a single one of these is a dedicated to its large LGBT population.
The proximity of LGBT clubs in in the Old Market area of the City, sometimes referred to as “The Gay Village“, as well as the city centre, aka “Gay Central” makes for a great clubbing experience, but they do not offer a diversity of social venues, leaving our communities to patronise other cafés and restaurants, theatres and galleries, tea rooms and community venues.
Now a brand new initiative in Bristol is looking at the feasibility of establishing a Community Centre specifically for LGBT people, most likely in the Old Market area of the City, where a considerable number of empty or under-used.Council-owned buildings, lower rents and business rates than other central areas could make such a community venture possible.
A centre of this kind could bridge the gap between the great variety of clubs and bars and those social activities that currently use other spaces, in other areas of the city (see our Calendar and Listings pages). Facilities like a community cafe’, perhaps a garden/yard, rooms for workshops, classes, meetings and a crèche facilities, to give families a chance to attend without hunting for babysitting.
But also a small performance space, for film screenings, theatre, dance, fashion shows, music and poetry performance, a gallery, for exhibitions.
A fully accessible space, fully equipped for all needs, would open up ‘the scene’ to people with mobility problems, sensory impairments and other disabilities, and alcohol-free evenings would make a welcome change for those who do not enjoy socialising around booze.
The inclusion of vegetarian, vegan, gluten and wheat free, diabetic and kosher/halal food, for those with specific dietary needs could widen the appeal of the centre and, with many people in the LGBT community increasingly opting for sustainability over mainstream commercial and mass-produced food and drink, the centre could set as one of its objectives to use organic, local and fair trade produce and drinks.
The Trans community who all too often experience a cool reception and even overt hostility in mainstream venues, are also fully entitled to enjoy an enjoyable, stress-free evening or afternoon, sharing food, drinks and a laugh with friends and family, without having to run the gauntlet of transphobic establishments.
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