Pin It
Pxssy Palace
Photography Sara Ahmad

Why Pxssy Palace are charging straight, cis men six times more

‘The tiers help us prioritise these groups as they are who the party is for’

When you’re a queer person of colour, it’s rare to find spaces where you feel wholly at home and accepted for who you are. Pxssy Palace, a club night which prioritises people of colour from marginalised genders and sexualities, is one of these welcoming spaces: an oasis of calm, happiness and joy for LGBTQ+ and PoC communities in London.

Pxssy Palace host nightlife events which are designed to celebrate LGBTQ+ and PoC people. According to their website, they provide “a space to dance, connect and engage, whilst encouraging consent, sexual freedom, pleasure, expression and exploration of our authentic selves.” Prioritising “equity over equality,” the arts platform also use a tiered pricing system for their tickets, which encourages white and straight attendees to pay a few pounds more than LGBTQ+ and PoC attendees. This pricing scale is just a guide: “We do not police this, you make this decision on how you feel you should pay,” their website reads.

But earlier this week, The Times and Daily Mail ran inflammatory stories about Pxssy Palace’s pricing system. GB news presenter Colin Brazier added fuel to the fire by tweeting, sans context, “A disco in London is charging straight white male clubbers six times more....for being straight, white, males.”

Speaking to Dazed, Pxssy Palace explained their pricing system. “The idea behind the tiers is to respond to the unfair economic imbalance that exists within our society. The gender pay gap between women and men are just the first of many disparities within the trans, non-binary, Black, indigenous and people of colour community,” they say.

“The tiers help us prioritise these groups as they are who the party is for. Our tier system works in much the same way as the concession model whereby students, families or pensioners are offered concession tickets to widen accessibility. There aren't a lot of places that BIPOC queer women, trans and non-binary people can go to and feel welcomed, never mind a place where they are actually embraced and supported.” 

Anecdotes from marginalised communities show why spaces like Pxssy Palace are so important: “There are hugely popular, successful clubs in Central London who turn away groups of Black women, whilst allowing groups of white women inside. It's been going on consistently for at least a decade,” tweeted writer Ruqaiya Haris in response to Brazier’s tweet.

Pxssy Palace also stressed that their pricing policy is not enforced. “You should pay with your heart and whatever your wallet allows, regardless of your identity and if you can pay more you should, as that allows us to give away a lot of free tickets every month to those who are on low income. We stand by this model completely.”

They add that their pricing system has enabled them to “create a team that successfully and sustainably hosts a community of amazing DJs and performers, provides disability safeguarding and training programs for our team to respond and tackle sexual assault, as well as a welfare team to assist our guests if they need.”

Responding to the criticism from the right-wing press, Pxssy Palace said: “As for the criticism, I hope that people take the time to evaluate why they are upset with us when we are just one club fighting to tackle the multitudes of disparities our community faces and we hope this inspires people who are also creating spaces for people with protected characteristics.”