Interview with Malibu and Coco
Our LGBTQ+ Representative, Andrea Morter, interviewed two Viaduct Showgirls earlier on this year regarding all things LGBTQ+ inclusivity. Read below
Image Credit: TripAdvisor
Q: In your own words, why is it important to have a LGBTQ safe zone in Leeds?
A: It is for the safety of the people coming here. Leeds is a large city with all kinds of nightlife. Whilst we have made leaps compared to other places in the world in terms of LGBT+ acceptance, we might forget the vital role of having spaces that feel welcoming for the community. Going in Leeds on a Friday night, it is central to have a place where you do not feel like you stick out when part of the LGBT+ community and do not feel as welcomed in other venues.
Q: How did Viaduct begin?
From the beginning, it was meant as a safe space for the gay community in the city, when owner Terry George founded it in the 80’s. It was for everyone in the community to feel included and to have a sense of belonging, especially when there have been times in the past when members of the community may not have felt safe enough outside of the nightclubs’ walls. It was from the beginning about a space of belonging and having a sanctuary.
Q: Is there anything you would like to see developing further for the Leeds LGBTQ+ community?
A safe space for the LGBT+ community in Leeds where it is more exclusive of the community. A space is needed for our minority especially in such a large city where people from the cisgender and heterosexual communities have a far wider choice of clubbing venues. It is so important to feel safe and comfortable in a place where you can be welcomed and be yourself.
There needs to be greater voice for the Leeds First Friday (LFF). This unofficial gathering of Leeds transgender and cross-dressing community all go and have fun on a night out in Leeds night venues, to be seen and more visible, as well as feel safe in greater numbers. What is worth noticing is that when you start surrounding yourself with people of the LGBT+ community, you stop labelling yourself as anything but yourself. You can embrace what is part of you and who you are.
Q: What are you looking forward to in the future?
The flash mob surprise in Leeds Trinity is something to look forward to again. It is a surprise performance in public where we are more vulnerable. It is to show that LGBT+ is present in Leeds and wants to live freely without being restricted by people who do not welcome it. The community wants to just live its life without feeling threatened. These performances are therefore a fight back against negative responses.