With LGBT History Month in full swing, it’s worth reminding ourselves that Leeds is a fantastic place for the young and queer. I’m not just talking about the club scene in The Calls; I’m talking about a wider reach of support and artistic expression for LGBT, queer, and non-binary people.
The Wharf Chambers offers not only a sense of fun and liberation, but also safety, community, and tolerance. As well as hosting the monthly Caffe Queero, a social event that involves anything from arts and crafts to an unwanted Christmas present swap, Wharf Chambers also runs a regular chilled out LGBTQ club night called Queer We Go.
What’s unique about Queer We Go, and separates it from other LGBT events in Leeds, is its focus on live music and new, exciting indie bands – ones who sing about queer topics.
It will often feature up to four artists from around the country before transforming into a club night, playing ace, non-mainstream tunes. It's not only views on gender, equal rights issues and sexuality that unite people; it’s also the music. There's a DIY ethic to Wharf Chambers that's hard to find elsewhere.
In the past they've held events like the Pop-Up Salon, where cis and trans people alike can get their hair cut for £2; the Veg Out! food festival, featuring veggie and vegan treats from Yorkshire’s finest kitchens; and queer film nights showing the best of underground and acclaimed LGBTQI cinema.
Here's the next round of goings-on…
Spoonboy, Onsind, Jesus and His Judgemental Father, Ferret Legs, February 19
Very excited for this queer-punk musical extravaganza. The Max Levine Ensemble's patriarchy-smashing singer-songwriter Spoonboy will be over from Washington DC to play with Leeds legends JAHGF, and two awesome political-pop bands from Durham. It's only £4 to get in so there's no excuse to miss this one.
Rob Evans / robevansphotography.tumblr.com
Queer We Go 5.5, February 21
This month, Queer We Go and Leeds No Borders collaborate to bring you a night of political activism, music, and dancing, with all money raised going towards those stranded on the border in Calais. From 6pm, there's a presentation about the situation, and instructions on how you can support. From 7pm there will be bands playing, including Demitaves and Fingers Crossed. After this, DJs take to the booths.
Leeds Queer Film Festival
A relatively new concept, the Leeds Queer Film Festival at Wharf Chambers had its first run in April 2014, and was a big success. This year it’s back, from July 16-19, to celebrate and showcase the best in recent and alternative LGBTQI cinema from around the globe. The festival is non-profit, cheap, and accessible, and aims to provide a platform for queer, independent film makers to talk about and share their work. The festival relies on volunteers so if you want to get involved there are a number of meet-ups in the run up to the festival. The next one will be on February 21.
Check-in with the Wharf Chambers website.