Last week I was persuaded to drag myself away from my winter hibernation and home comforts such as; fluffy socks, pyjamas, roaring fire and big pants and put on something less comfortable and go out into Leeds.
It’s only been a few months since I last visited the fabulous bars in #gayleeds, however, looking around, I found myself not only reflecting on the huge changes to the scene that have occurred since the summer but also since my first ever visit over 20 years ago*when I was a brand new, shiny, terrified, lesbian who tentatively crept in through the doors of The Bridge LGBT Bar expecting (hoping) to find a crowd of rampant women waiting to jump me.**
But, sadly, I was surprised then at how few women were actually around. There were a few regulars and some women only nights held around the city back then but men massively outnumbered women.
So, fast-forward 21 years to last week. I looked around Fibre as we enjoyed our 2-4-1 drinks, then Queens Court as Miss Orry’s banter had people in stitches, then The Viaduct Showbar where the performers and dancers on stage were spellbinding and I noticed people of many gender identities, everywhere. It was amazing to see mixed numbers of genders out just having fun.
Why though? My theory (which could be wrong, it often is!) is that coming together as a community has made a community, bear with me…
Events past and present including Leeds LGBT Pride, Drag Idol, fundraisers such as the recent and fantastic World Aids Day ones have drawn people of all genders not only onto the scene but, once they have seen all it has to offer, been welcomed, had fun and witnessed some of the top class entertainment, encouraged people to return.
Many people have worked very hard to get our scene to the point we are at and the sheer number of visitors shows this inclusion. So, to all PEOPLE, get down to the #gayleeds scene and join in, you won’t regret it.
*Over 20 years ago!
** There was not a crowd of rampant women waiting to jump me and my wife has asked me to add that it’s too late now even if a crowd of women did appear!