In this instalment of PLACES, FACES, SPACES, Lo Lo No shares with us some of their favourite people, projects and venues that are making a positive impact on queer culture and queer people's experience in Margate right now. We hope these examples can highlight to you the possibilities of fostering in-person queer community, and encourage you to think about how you could contribute to building queer spaces local to you, as well as be a strong Queer Leader in your local area.
In addition, if you're thinking of visiting Margate for the first time, we hope this round up will help get you inspired about what aspects of queer culture you could explore. If you live in Berlin or know it well, you might even learn about something, somewhere or someone that you haven't come across before - you never know!
First, here's a little about Lo Lo No, and their connection to Margate's queer culture...
I’m Lo Lo No, artist, curator and Queer Cuntry drag act Pretzel Cage. I moved from my home city of London to Margate in 2017 and haven't looked back, seeing it grow from seasonal summer town to all year round cultural melting pot with an ever expanding LGBTQIA+ community being an integral part of that, bringing music, performance, art and cuisine to Margate.
I started working with Margate Pride in my first year here, we are arts led and have projects running year round with no corporate sponsorship. Pride continues to expand and is now a two week festival which includes PAM (Pride Art Map) festival which I direct, PAM includes the unique queer artists residency BRINK.
Margate is a small town doing big things and that is very much its spirit, with other organisations alongside Pride like People Dem Collective and Rise Up Clean Up working towards making Margate an inclusive and progressive home and destination.
And now on to Lo Lo No's picks!
Founded by local writer and drag queen (Bettany Bay) Liam O’Driscoll, MQW runs annual projects including 2021’s Memory that give local writers an opportunity to workshop, book club, perform and publish work in Anthologies and exhibitions. The approach is multi disciplinary, inclusive and collaborative and has seen texts and photographs narrating queer life go up all around Margate in cafes and shops.
2. SouthEast Trans+ Social
Run by Trans+ advocacy charity Not A Phase and held at the wonderful queer run safe space Margate Arts Club, the social is a place for the trans+ community to meet in a safe and encouraging environment. The trans+ community in Margate is small in visibility and the meet ups are so important in empowering the community and building its resources.
3. Snug Club - Queer Short Film Night
Nestled into the cosy, queer-friendly Tom Thumb Theatre, Snug Club is a relaxed sharing of short films by Queer Margate based creators. Launched by performance artist, film maker and neuro-queer clown An(Dre)a Spisto, the club shows short films from all levels of filmmaking experimentation and experience and range from documentaries, dramas, comedy, art film, music video and there are relaxed talks and introductions between films.
4. NBE Fitness
Founded by Pride team member, facilitator, dancer and gamer Kanndiss Riley, NBE FITNESS has a unique and inclusive approach to wellbeing and has grown to create sessions for queer families, outdoor/indoor group sessions, and tailored access points for individual access needs. The goal is for providing inclusive, holistic wellness services for Every BODY. The space is built to be inclusive and support carers, disabled and chronically ill people to enjoy life.
Founded in 2022 so local neurodivergent adults can meet their peers in safe spaces.
Their mission is to bridge the gap in local resources and support for neurodivergent adults,
working for positive change in mental health, well-being, community, belonging, self-
acceptance, self-advocacy, breaking bias and isolation, and building peer support. We
provide a monthly social meetup, a monthly creative workshop, and other community
Political punk act Pink Suits bought their love of Country music to Margate and launched Queer Cuntry, a bimonthly event at Olby’s Soul Cafe. The whole audience dons pvc chaps and diamante cowboy hats to play games, line dance, watch guest drag acts and the Northdown Rodeo nine piece band. Queer Cuntry birthed yours truly Pretzel Cage. Pink Suits work hard to create an accessible and inclusive space for people to come together and express themselves freely and sing along to Dolly Parton and Orville Peck.
7. Queer Swim
Founded by artist Brogan Bertie, Queer Swim is a trans-centred, fat positive and anti-racist swim (or not) club and provides a vital opportunity to folx to meet up in a 100% welcoming and non judgemental space. I remember first seeing the group's house rules like ‘avoid commenting on people's appearance and enquire on someone's pronouns if you are not sure’ and feeling like this was massively progressive for Margate’s future.
Run by a queer quintent made up of two partners and a pair of siblings, Camp is the new Queer Bar in Margate, more than just a bar it hosts community events, pole dancing show cases, pop up restaurants and Drag Race screenings. Margate has been running at a minimal in terms of queer devoted and run spaces and Camp is like a beacon, proudly nestled into the eclectic Northdown Road, I am so glad young people are growing up in the town able to see proud venues and people that will become their own hang out spots.
While you're here...
Did you know we consult with 100+ Businesses, ERGs and Change-Leaders providing bespoke corporate solutions? Through consultancy we design shared learning experiences, produce DEI insights and craft bespoke content that support individuals with strengthening their roles as change-agents within their communities and organisations. Find out more here.
We also organise FREE community events throughout the year! We offer a variety of ways to get involved - both online and in person. This is a great way to network and learn more about others' experiences, through in-depth discussion on an array of topics. You can find out what events we have coming up here. New ones are added all the time, so make sure you sign up to our newsletter so you can stay up to date!