Updated: Apr 13
We take a closer look at the vibrant and thriving Queer culture in Glasgow, Scotland. Chris Sheridan shares a curated guide of must-know people, venues and events.
If you're thinking of visiting Glasgow for the first time, we hope this article will help inspire you to explore the city's Queer scene and discover new and exciting aspects of Queer culture unique to Scotland. And if you're a local, you might even learn about something or someone you haven't come across before. Join Chris on their journey as they uncover the hidden gems and amazing individuals that make Glasgow a must-visit destination for Queer travellers.
First, a little about Chris, and their connection to Glasgow's queer culture...
I’m Chris Sheridan, a trans, non-binary therapist and Managing Director of The Queer Therapist based in Glasgow. I moved from my home city of Dublin to study in Scotland in 2014 and have been here ever since. Glasgow is often overlooked as a go-to queer destination but is overflowing with queer-led businesses, places and spaces. Beyond Glasgow’s Pride events and the many queer bars in the city, there is an abundance of queer and arts culture, particularly in the city’s southside neighbourhoods. Shawlands, Strathbungo and Govanhill are hubs for our queer community, but there are queer hot spots right across the city!
When I first moved to Shawlands in 2019, I was immediately struck by the strong sense of belonging I felt and the brilliant diversity within the community. Many of the venues, including Tramway, a large arts venue in a post-industrial space and The Glad, a Bohemian all-day café, with live music and films; are inclusive and progressive spaces and regularly hold queer-specific events.
Glasgow is a phenomenal city with a progressive and socialist spirit, supporting hyperlocal connection with an international reach. That spirit can be seen everywhere from G.A.S Glasgow’s Autonomous Space which is a social centre that provides space for groups working to fight capitalism & other forms of oppression to the success of Buzzcut in its (sort of) 10th year as a free-to-access live art festival that showcases brilliant queer creatives each year.
And now on to Chris's picks!
Photo Credit: Category Is Books
1. Category Is Books.
Category Is Books is one of my favourite queer places in Glasgow. Based in the Southside they are an independent queer bookshop, with a brilliant selection of books by the full spectrum of LGBTQIA+ authors. Open Wednesday through Sunday, the owners are fiercely queer and wonderfully welcoming.
Image Credit: Small Trans Library
2. Small Trans Library.
Small Trans Library is a small lending library of trans-authored books for trans people. As well as sharing our catalogue of over 400 LGBTQ+ books, they also regularly host reading groups, writing workshops and community events for trans people in Scotland.
Image Credit: Pink Peacock Café
3. Pink Peacock Café.
Pink Peacock is a café and infoshop in the Govanhill area of Glasgow. Described by its founders as "the only queer Yiddish anarchist vegan pay-what-you-can café in the world" and "anti-Zionist" they offer LGBTQ+ sober socials.
Image Credit: Bonjour Glasgow
Bonjour is probably my favourite queer nightclub and bar in the city as well as being a profit-sharing workers’ cooperative. It’s one of the safest and most progressive spaces you will find. With an exciting mix of events, club nights, drag shows and even a book launch or two, this space has something for everyone.
Photo Credit: Glasgow Women's Library
5. Glasgow Women's Library.
GWL is the only accredited women's library in the UK, with a fantastic archive it's a super welcoming queer space. They run a year-round programme of events for women who are truly trans and non-binary inclusive. As well as offering a Glasgow-specific Stride with Pride: LGBTQIA+ Heritage tour of the city which you can take part in at your own leisure.
Image Credit: Queer Theory
6. Queer Theory in Nice N Sleazy.
This queer cabaret show and club night is based in Glasgow and has been proudly showcasing LGBTQ+ talent since April 2016! A heady mix of music, performance art, spoken word, comedy, drag and variety with a focus on the subversive and experimental. Find out more here.
Photo Credit: LGBT Health and Wellbeing
7. LGBT Health and Wellbeing.
If there’s an LGBTQ+ group taking place, it’s probably associated in some way with LGBT Health and Wellbeing. As well as providing information and support across Scotland, they help facilitate many different groups across Glasgow from those whose first language isn’t English to 50+ "Quelders" groups looking to connect. They host a year-round programme of events and if you’re looking for help, and support, or just want to meet some other LGBTQ+ people in the area, then LGBT Health and Wellbeing should be your first point of contact.
Photo Credit: Rainbow Glasgaroos
8. Rainbow Glasgaroos.
The Rainbow Glasgaroos is a queer basketball group for anyone of any skill, gender identity, or sexual orientation. This team works to foster a community and create a fun environment for LGBTQ+ people to get fit, gain access to sports, learn new skills and socialise through basketball. Without a doubt, the Rainbow Glasgaroos provide a safe and supportive environment for queer athletics. They currently meet on Tuesdays 7:00 pm-8:30 pm at the City of Glasgow College.
Photo Credit: Scotland Queer International Film Festival
9. Scotland Queer International Film Festival
SQIFF is a staple on the queer annual calendar in Glasgow, curating a programme of excellent queer films from across Scotland and around the world. Platforming incredible queer talent, they also offer professional development and networking throughout the festival with a range of workshops and talks. Most of the events are free or ticketed on a pay what you decided sliding scale.
About PLACES, FACES, SPACES:
Through this series we hope to highlight the possibilities of fostering an in-person Queer community, and encourage you to think about how you could contribute to Queer spaces around you and become a strong and impactful Queer Leader in your local area.
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