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Dalston Superstore presents: Queer Space
36, Sleeze Sisters at The Bell, The Bell Kings Cross 1980S, Rebel Dykes Film

Telling the true story of queer partying and protest

The East London bar has been converted into a museum of queerness that explores an alternative history of LGBTQ+ people – one of joy, community and defiance

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act, the partial decriminalization of homosexuality in the UK. The occasion is momentous, and we’ve come a long way since. In celebration, Queer Space explores the past that forged this present, and honours those who fought for a wider, freer queer space.

Speaking of the importance of their exhibition, co-curators Joseph Alloway and Josh Enright say, “As LGBTQ+ people, our story is often written by others as one of exclusion, oppression and tragedy. We aim to show an alternative history of LGBTQ+ people – one of joy, community and defiance.” The show is a gathering of queer artefacts and ephemera – you'll find happy, grainy photographs, scrawled invites to Gay Liberation Front meetings, and a lot of posters for what were probably some of the greatest parties ever. It's all been dug up from archives, personal collections, and influential queer meccas. Included are the likes of Caravan Club, the illicit 1930s parties that promised its’ visitors ‘all night gaiety’, the Rebel Dykes, a 1980s group of post-punk, kick-ass lesbians on which a documentary is being released next year, as well as Trade, the ‘original all night bender’ that pioneered queer clubbing in the 1990’s. Queer Space commemorates ways in which the LGBTQ+ community has come together, throughout the twentieth century, to create vibrant, safe spaces that celebrate and affirm queer identity.

“As LGBTQ+ people, our story is often written by others as one of exclusion, oppression and tragedy. We aim to show an alternative history – one of joy, community and defiance” 

Throughout its run, Dalston Superstore is hosting parties and events designed around the exhibition – including talks, performances and workshops. Queer Space is supported by Queer Tours of London - A Mince Through Time, tours of London set up to recognise and support the activism, culture and performance of the city’s incredible queer community at large, as well as visually exploring its' history in London. For Queer Space, tonight is opening night, and the event boasts a ‘WONDERFUL/ ECCENTRIC/ JAMPACKED’ schedule – from which all proceeds raised will be donated to Opening Doors London. ODL is the biggest charity providing information and support services specifically for older LGBTQ+ people in the UK. If you go (which you should), please give generously. 

Queer Space launches 7-10pm Thursday 6th July and runs until mid-September 2017 at Dalston Superstore, 117 Kingsland High Street, E8 2BP.