Girls Night In making exception to boycott for queer women’s club night at Sneaky Pete’s

Sylkie’s organisers and attendees had tried to contact Girls’ Night In to encourage them to change the day of the boycott

TW: spiking, sexual harassment and assault 

The Girls’ Night In campaign has told The Edinburgh Tab that it’s making an exception to tonight’s club boycott for Sylkie – a queer women’s club night being hosted at Sneaky Pete’s.

Event organisers and attendees had previously tried to contact Girls’ Night In to encourage them to change the day of the boycott to not clash with Sylkie, billed as a space space for queer women and their friends that is otherwise lacking in the Edi clubbing scene.

Both Sylkie and Sneaky Pete’s have reassured clubbers at that they’re operating zero tolerance policy to spiking as well as other forms of assault and harassment.

In a statement given to us, Girls’ Night In said they “believe that this night is incredibly important” and stands for the same values as the campaign including “inclusivity, feminism, empowerment, and safety for everyone”.

Girls Night in have stressed: “Those who wish to attend this event should not be discouraged from going “given this event is incredibly important and in light of the fact that this night has planned long before the boycott and stands for all of the same things that Girls Night In stands for, such as inclusivity, feminism, empowerment, and safety for everyone”.

However, they have added: “If this event was not occurring, we would not encourage people to attend Sneaky Pete’s during the boycott tonight because, despite the fact that we reached out with our open letter, they have not yet made a comment directly to us on the safety precautions they will be implementing in light of recent spikings (to our knowledge).”

Sneaky Pete’s told The Edinburgh Tab they have “ordered a new high-spec CCTV system, made cups with lids available on request, begun additional bar and door staff vigilance training process in collaboration with Crew 2000, ensured stewards are all first aid trained, consistently made efforts to be one of the safest venues around with a very public policy against any and all creepy behaviour (with posters up to let customers know that’s the case), and finally bar and door staff are trained to be approachable and to immediately intervene should any customer be made to feel uncomfortable by any other”.

Xiviro, one of the organisers of Sylkie, also added that: “Sylkie DJs and residents will be monitoring the crowd from nearby the booth all night, keeping an eye out of anyone who looks distressed and checking in on the crowd. Sneaky Pete’s and Sylkie are working Crew 2000 to re-fresh previous harm reduction training and to make sure we know what to look for if anyone runs into any substance-related trouble. I’ve been trained with Good Night Out and am training again with Crew to make sure I’m up to speed on making sure people are as safe as they can be.”

Sylkie is being organised by a mixture of Edi students and recent grads and has been being planned for over 18 months after being delayed by the pandemic. They have had some attendees message to say they won’t be coming in light of the boycott, but have also received “messages of reassurance from people who go to Sneaky’s a lot and know how well trained the staff all are, and reassurance from people who are familiar with the ethos of Sylkie, which has been really lovely”.

One resident at Club Sylkie also told us they thought Girls Night In campaign was incredibly “feminine” in its branding and risked “excluding non-binary people” like themselves as well as the “grim, but long, history within queer clubbing” of queer men being spiked with drugs like GHB.

The club night was started after organisers were fed up of “rocking up to gay nights and being surrounded by men all the time.” They realised “a lot of women and non binary people probably didn’t feel safe either – sadly issues like misogyny, racism, and transphobia do exist within queer circles too”. After speaking to some queer female DJs and fellow clubbers, they decided to organise “a night for queer women that wasn’t so centred around men and a very different experience of queerness”.

Recommended related articles by this writer:

• Yes, spiking is a problem, but giving more power to bouncers is not the answer

• Edi Uni FemSoc has organised a march against clubs in response to numerous spiking claims

• We asked Edinburgh clubs what their spiking policies and procedures are