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LUSU has taken the first crucial step towards making nightlife in the city more accessible to a LGBTQ students.
On Thursday Week 26, Union Council passed a motion which outlined the idea for discussions to begin between the LGBTQ Association, Social and Events Group and the Sugarhouse aimed at bringing in a series of nights for LGBTQ students.
The motion was proposed by LUSU Equality Campaigns Officer, Aidan Williams, and seconded by Sarah Newport, LUSU LGBTQ Officer.
It was passed by the Union Council with little opposition and only a few abstentions.
“It gained the support of a majority of the union officers,” Williams said.
Outlining the motivation behind the motion, Williams explained, “The reality is that Lancaster doesn’t have a single LGBT night. We are living in 2010, yet often this city can feel more like we are in the 1950s… it isn’t right or justifiable that students feel ashamed of their sexuality.”
Sarah Newport, LGBTQ Officer, said the eventual aim was to “create an event where people can see that we’re not scary, threatening or different, and everyone can just have fun.”
In order to reach this long-term aim, the motion resolves “to engage fully and frankly” in discussions with the Sugarhouse regarding the establishment of a string of LGBTQ nights at the venue.
Momentum behind the campaign built after the recent discontinuation of Lancaster’s only LGBTQ night, Outrageous at Toast, which ran on the last Sunday of every month.
Discussions had previously taken place with the Sugarhouse on the possibility of LGBTQ nights being held there, but both proposers felt there was now considerable demand among students to put one back into place.
“As a mandated officer, I must uphold the wishes of my constituents, who made it very clear that they are in full support of this night,” said Newport.
She outlined the wide variety of groups involved in campaigning; including LUSU officers, the LGBTQ Association committee and the Lancaster and Morecambe LGBT group ‘Out in the Bay.’
However, Williams also stressed the considerable difference that the reinstatement of such an event would make to Lancaster’s nightlife.
“There is a consistent level of homophobia at Lancaster. I have myself been exposed to homophobia in Revs, and other students have been physically assaulted at Toast.”
When asked about the benefits of the Sugarhouse as a potential venue, Williams said he felt it is was “most likely to take homophobia seriously” which was “something that is particularly important given the personal experiences of so many students.”
Newport also praised the LUSU-affiliated nightclub as “the safest, most accepting venue in Lancaster.”
Although still in the early stages, the idea contained in the Union Council motion could hold wider benefits for others studying the city.
Sarah Newport said, “We realise that it could be seen as a bit ‘closed’, but we are in discussion with the University of Cumbria about their potential involvement in order to broaden the spectrum of attendees.”