Lancaster LGBTQ+ Forum to boycott Generation Nightclub

The motion was passed following the club’s response to the Big Night In campaign

Lancaster University’s LGBTQ+ Forum has passed a motion to boycott Generation Nightclub following a Facebook post regarding the Big Night In campaign.

The Big Night In was a national boycott of nightclubs in response to a rise in reports of spiking across the country.

Generation, the only LGBTQ+ nightclub in Lancaster, posted the following statement on October 27th: “Open as normal this evening. Generation is a safe space dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community here in Lancaster and the northwest. We welcome everyone into our venue and are proud of our preexisting and new safeguards to protect all our customers and staff.

“We will be operating our bar area on Wednesday night. As we are the only dedicated safe space for the queer community here in Lancaster.”

‘We are disappointed to see a lack of solidarity’

The post received negative feedback from LGBTQ+ community members, with people criticising the wording of the post and the lack of clarification on safety measures. Generation clarified in the comments that by defining themselves as “the only dedicated safe space for the queer community”, they referred to “late night” venues. They also provided commenters with a full list of safeguards that they have in place.

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Forum announced its boycott on November 5th in an Instagram post that summarised their issues with Generation’s response to the Big Night In. 

“Following a Facebook post made about the Big Night In, the LGBTQ+ Exec passed a motion to boycott Generation,” a spokesperson for the forum said. “The nightclub refused to close, citing unspecified safety measures and their being ‘the only dedicated safe space’ for LGBTQ+ people in Lancaster, among other reasons. 

“We are disappointed to see this lack of solidarity with a minority group. Additionally, we vehemently disagree with the claims made in the post that there are numerous LGBTQ+ groups in Lancaster, who provide safe spaces for us all around the city.”

‘The bar does little to appeal specifically to LGBTQ+ people’

The forum added: “We do not believe that the safety measures at the time of the post are adequate in protecting our LGBTQ+ students.

“This concerns not only anti-spiking measures but also complaints made by Forum members stating that they do not feel safe or comfortable in Generation – that despite marketing itself as a gay bar, the bar does little to appeal specifically to LGBTQ+ people.

“As part of the terms of the boycott, we will be promoting other LGBTQ+ groups around Lancaster to help our Forum members discover more fun and safe spaces outside of the university.”

Instagram via @lancasterlgbtq

The Forum stated that they will no longer be hosting events at, or promoting, Generation. They also asked Forum members and other forums and societies across Lancaster to support them in the boycott, which will be reviewed on November 22nd.

‘Sexuality was appropriated as grounds to remain open’

Speaking to The Tab Lancaster, a representative from the LGBTQ+ Forum said: “We were extremely disappointed to see Generation’s response to the Big Night In, and as representatives of the LGBTQ+ student body at Lancaster University, we have a responsibility to call out the behaviour we believe puts said students at risk.

“We didn’t feel comfortable with the way that sexuality was appropriated as grounds to remain open, and our boycott comes not only in response to the BNI situation but also to a number of concerns raised by our students. Many do not feel Generation is functionally a gay bar: it does little to distinguish itself from other bar/club spaces in the area (for example, it’s popular with stag and hen parties).

“Since we announced the boycott, Generation has reached out to us to talk about the issues we raised in our post. We’re hopeful that we will be able to work with them to cultivate a safe space for our students, as well as other LGBTQ+ individuals in the area.”

Instagram via @lancasterlgbtq

‘We are not the only LGBTQ+ space in the Lancaster area’

Generation told The Tab Lancaster: “Generation did not close on October 27th 2021. This was for a number of reasons.

“Firstly, we had a group booked in through 2SLGBTQI Out In The Bay (who support our community in the Lancaster district). This is the 2SLGBTQI local charity group for the local community, who we help out with free venue hire, refreshments & also charitable donations. 

“Secondly, we felt that as our opening hours on a Wednesday are only until 1 am (and only operating as a bar), We were not operating as a nightclub even before talks of the Big Night In and haven’t been operational as a nightclub midweek since the re-opening after Covid. Our late openings are only on Fridays & Saturdays, plus a few extra events.

“My business has just been hit hugely financially by Covid-19 and was a huge struggle to keep the business afloat and the staff with jobs. (Most of whom are LGBT+ including myself) Even with the likes of Furlough and Grants, unfortunately, our landlords still demanded payments in full.

“We would like to clarify that we are not the only LGBTQ+ space in the Lancaster area. However, we are the only one endorsed by 2SLGBTQI Out in The Bay; we have monthly meetings with this group, who I believe is also working with Lancaster University LGBTQ staff network. We are also working towards gaining their 2SLGBTQI charter mark.

Instagram via @lancasterlgbtq

“I think the confusion from the Facebook post has come from a member of staff who is new to their role and the area. As the business owner, I apologise for any confusion caused by this, and I have already addressed the issue with all staff members with access to the social media pages. 

“Generation has always been and always will be a safe space for 2SLGBTQI people. Allies are always welcome as long as they are acting as allies. We, as a business, promote equality and equity. Anybody made to feel unsafe inside the venue can ask a staff member for “An Angel Shot”. You will be taken to our welfare room and supported by trained staff. 

“Should you require any more information please don’t hesitate to contact me. [email protected]

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