LGBTQ+ Venues in London: An investigation into the socio-economic, technological, and cultural drivers of nightlife decline.
Following numerous accounts lamenting the closure of over half of London’s LGBTQ+ nightlife venues in the last decade alone, this research paper sought to investigate the underlying factors leading to the permanent closure of many of the capital’s cherished queer spaces. I contextualise this paper in connection with a recent report commissioned by the Mayor of London that found that 58 percent of London’s LGBTQ+ venues had closed between 2006 and 2017. Building on these findings, my research constitutes of three overarching research questions that examine: how are processes of gentrification impacting London’s LGBTQ+ nightlife venues, how are LGBTQ+ dating apps and online spaces impacting London’s LGBTQ+ nightlife venues, and how are changing attitudes and habits within and towards London’s LGBTQ+ communities impacting London’s LGBTQ+ nightlife venues? In order to develop a nuanced understanding of the multitude of factors which contributed to the closures, this paper utilised over a dozen semi-structured interviews with managers, event organisers of London’s LGBTQ+ venues, and notable members of London’s LGBTQ+ communities, which included: activists, artists, and performers.The study’s findings indicated that processes of gentrification were largely responsible for these closures, and presented a plethora of challenges for London’s existing LGBTQ+ venues struggling to adapt to these changing socio-economic dynamics in the city. The increasing popularity of online LGBTQ+ dating apps as a means of camaraderie as opposed to frequenting physical spaces of LGBTQ+ venues raised further questions surrounding the viability of certain LGBTQ+ venues in the future. This paper further suggests that certain younger LGBTQ+ generations wish to construct and frequent new forms of queer nightlife, beyond the confines of the homonormative gay neighbourhood.
Copyright (c) 2021 Alexander Salem
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