A guide to the Edinburgh and Glasgow LGBT scene
Clubs, bars, films, visual art, sports events and festivals all covered
This article is from 2012.
Looking for a queer-friendly night out and don’t fancy a traffic-light party at the union? Never fear, The List’s LGBT editor Lauren Mayberry is here with a round-up of good LGBT hangouts in your city
Not short of club nights, Glasgow has a reasonable mix of the mainstream and the leftfield. Play and Polo Lounge offer reasonably priced midweek nights, while FHQ in Merchant City is a ladies-only bar with affordable, regular nights including Club Devotion and Queer:CORE. Death Disco at The Arches and Club Noir at O2 Academy often have nights with LGBT influences, or for something more alternative try the Flying Duck’s New Wave night, Blitz, or Menergy, a ‘Hi-NRG gay dance party’ hosted by drag ledge Lady Munter at Forbidden.
Lock Up Your Daughters is a local collective that makes zines, runs filmmaking workshops and puts on the odd club night. Curating a monthly screening of queer classics at the GFT, their events are the perfect place to meet new creative pals with a shared love of arthouse cinema (and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert). Check out the LUYD website for info on one-off music and clubbing events.
The artier among you should also try out the Virginia Gallery on Virginia Street, located below over-18s boutique, Luke and Jack. Running everything from ‘realistic’ life drawing classes to showcases of local and international lesbian, gay and trans art, this space is definitely a first for Glasgow. For sports, try out Glasgow Front Runners at the Arc, or Camp Fitness Run Club, who meet every Tuesday and Thursday at the Botanic Gardens.
Cachín Cachán Cachunga! is night of poetry, film, music, dance and any other kind of performance you can think of at Priscillas, specifically aimed at queer and trans people. Saturday Night Beaver claims to be ‘Edinburgh’s only women’s night’, taking place in the Annexe at the Liquid Room on a quarterly basis. Hot Mess is a popular alt night at the Wee Red Bar, kicking off after regular gig night Pussy Whipped, and offering an alternative to the cheesier clubs. But if electro house isn’t your thing, head to GHQ for a plethora of wallet-friendly drinks deals and classic anthems.
The LGBT Centre for Health and Wellbeing has everything from support groups and discussion forums to film screenings and book clubs. There are also plenty of exercise classes to get involved in, ideally followed by a pint in The Regent or a high-calorie snack at one of the bars and cafés around Broughton Street, such as Blue Moon (claim to fame: the UK’s oldest gay café) and the recently revamped CC Blooms. Sporty ladies should also check out Hot Scots FC, be it for a kickabout or a serious game.
Festival and Special Events
Every summer sees Pride Scotia take place in Edinburgh, with Glasgow Pride taking place every second year, due back in 2014. Glasgay! is Europe’s largest queer multi-arts festival, covering film, comedy, music, theatre, visual and performance art, literature and clubs (15 Oct–3 Nov), while the BFI London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival usually tours to the GFT and Edinburgh Filmhouse around the start of the first semester. Other dates for the diary include: International Celebrate Bisexuality Day (23 Sep), Transgender Remembrance Day (20 Nov), World AIDS Day (1 Dec), LGBT History Month (Feb) and International Women’s Day (8 Mar).
If you’re ever in doubt, remember that most universities will have their own LGBT societies but you can also approach LGBT Youth Scotland or call Dundee-based helpline Diversitay for additional advice (01382 20 26 20, Mondays, 7–9pm). Both Glasgow and Edinburgh also have Gay Men’s Health centres, offering drop-ins and counselling.