Despite the hustle and bustle of neighbouring Glasgow and Edinburgh, Stirling’s nightlife is noticeably devoid of any gay scene.
This could change with LGBT Nights at local club, Fubar, which are set to take place once a month in collaboration with the University of Stirling’s LGBT society.
When asked about the inspiration behind these events Fubar management explained that they’re hoping to bring something new to Stirling’s late-night industry.
Representatives from the LGBT society noted that they are optimistic about this collaboration marking a turning point for Stirling’s lack of gay scene and that management seems keen to build a relationship with Stirling’s LGBT community.
They also explained that steps had been taken before the event to instruct staff on how to handle LGBT events.
On this collaboration, Fubar management said: “They’re the most knowledgeable on it rather than us, that’s why we’ve involved them so much.”
LGBT Society Treasurer, James Howard, noted: “We’re here to bridge the gap … we’re trying to establish something where queer people know they’re welcome, they know they’re wanted, and they know they have somewhere to go.”
This creation of a safe space within Fubar is notable when considering accusations of harassment that are voiced by LGBT individuals against late-night institutions.
Second-year university student, Graeme MacDonald, mentioned two separate alleged incidents where he was spat on for public displays of affection (PDA) on the dance floor with another man in Fubar.
MacDonald said that these incidents made him feel unsafe to be queer in Stirling and alleges that the bouncer he approached when this first happened seemed uninterested.
This prevented MacDonald from raising the issue with staff when it happened again.
Fubar management commented that their door staff are highly trained and that all incidents are logged on to their internal system and that they were unable to find anything regarding these alleged incidents.
However, management stated that “Should it have happened it’s vulgar and not welcomed in our venue.
“Fubar accepts no form of discrimination, we expect everyone to be tolerant of others… A key principle of our business is to create a safe and welcoming environment for all customers.”
Fubar management also calls for anyone wishing to report similar incidents in the future to speak to any member of staff who will see that management is alerted and that the issue is dealt with.
Positively, the first LGBT Night at Fubar seems to have been a success with tickets selling out towards the end of the night.
MacDonald noted that he felt much safer at LGBT night and that he would like to see Fubar do it again.
Queer students who hadn’t been to Fubar before said that the decision to create LGBT Night had made them want to try clubbing.
Second year English student, Elle McTaggart, said: “I felt accepted and welcomed by everyone and the staff were extremely helpful and accommodating. “
“I had a moment when I was leaving the club where I felt hesitant about the face paint I had on, and I worried I might be targeted on my way home.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow that people who do not subscribe to typical gender or sexuality norms are open to harassment, but Fubar being aware of this and ensuring the presence of multiple bouncers did help me feel a bit more at ease.”
Journalism and Politics student, Hannah Graham, alleges that she has been fetishised and made to feel unsafe on regular nights in Fubar as a queer person and said:
“The queer night made me feel incredibly safe. It made me realise that Stirling needs to provide more safe queer spaces to queer students who want to have a good night out.”
Fubar is the only club in Stirling and many queer individuals claim to feel isolated as a result. This move to reinterpret the space may have a positive impact on the safety of queer individuals as well as mark the beginning of a visible gay scene in the city.
Featured image credit: Brig Newspaper
South African student journalist in my second year of doing my Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Journalism Studies.
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