Queersay is coming to London this Thursday

Next Thursday (8 Nov) sees the launch of Queersay in the Club Bar at the Two Brewers. This open discussion forum is the brain child of Elliot and Simon Hatter-Rubio and will feature invited speakers all talking about LGBT+ visibility. We spoke to Elliot about this exciting new venture.

Hi Elliot, in simple terms how would you describe what Queersay is? 

Queersay is a forum that allows the audience to have their say and create an open discussion. The event is a moment that allows the audience to become part of the discussion and voice their opinion. The concept was born out of a social platform we run in Amsterdam called Hearsay. After holding a Pride special we saw there was space and a need for our community and allies to come together and not just put forward their voice but to help educate others. A place that lives offline and is safe and where no judgement is held.

What will actually happen on the night? 

Every Queersay event happens in two parts over the course of the evening. First we hear from invited speakers who will each present a small talk based on the subject, which is LGBT+ visibility. These talks are used to showcase members of the community and their stories, work or opinions. It enables us to get the evening started and to give the audience some food for thought. We then take a short break for the audience to grab a drink and to digest everything they have seen and heard but also to meet the speakers in an informal setting. We return for the Queersay Fishbowl discussion, where the audience have their say. In the Fishbowl, the speakers sit in the middle of the room, where there is also an empty seat. We start off by posing a question to the fishbowl to start the conversation. Once we get going the empty seat can be taken at any time by anyone that wants to join in the conversation. When the seat is taken someone in the fishbowl will give up their seat creating another empty seat. This process means a new thought or opinion will always enter the conversation and keep moving the discussion forward.

Who is taking part at this first Queersay?  

For the launch of Queersay we have lined up four incredible speakers including some Queersay friends from Amsterdam. We have Paul Burston, author of five novels including the bestseller ‘The Black Path’. Paul is also the curator and host of award-winning literary salon Polari at London’s Southbank Centre. Our other London speaker is the political lip-sync satirist Ripley, creator of the Like A Sturgeon show. Ripley uses performance to question and explore current sociopolitical issues. Our Amsterdam speakers are Joseph Kearney and Jon Haywood. Joseph is the social media officer for ROMEO, the world’s most exciting network for gay and bi males, and trans people. Jon is a photographer and he’s currently working on his first exhibition concept; “Life’s a Drag”. It’s a photographic documentary that showcases the diversity of drag performance around the world and the benefit the drag community delivers to the immediate LGBTQ+ community and beyond. With a very literal photographic take on “Visibility” Jon will take you behind the lens and let you see visibility through his eyes. Plus Boyz’ very own Dave Cross will be moderating the evening and making sure everyone keeps in line.

The theme is LGBT+ visibility can you talk about that, what areas will this cover?

Visibility was a subject we chose to talk about for our Pride special in Amsterdam. The subject really came from many things that were happening within our community and also the representation and commercialising of the community. We felt that just being visible was the first battle in acceptance. However visibility is deeply personal and something that members of our community fight with daily. If we are more visible than ever, so are the people who choose to hate and discriminate. In this era where everyone is enabled to have an opinion, is all visibility good? Does the idea of visibility need to be re-examined, and ultimately what does this do to the community where the traditional spaces and subcultures are being diluted? We also want to celebrate and hear people’s personal stories about visibility. 

What areas of visibility are we talking about?

We want to look at all areas of where visibility affects us and can help us, so entertainment, politics, media, sport and on our own scene.

Can Boyz readers who are coming contribute and ask questions?

We always invite and encourage people to be involved and the whole event is designed for it. If any audience member has a burning question, then the fishbowl section is for that. Take your seat and ask away.

Why did you pick the Two Brewers?

The Two Brewers prides itself on providing a safe and welcoming environment for everyone. Having served the community for 37 years, the pub is firmly cemented in the hearts of the community, who come from far and wide to visit the venue. We knew very quickly that a new community talk event would fit in well with everything the Brewers has going on.

The newly refurb’d event space gave us the perfect space to launch Queersay and we can’t thank general manager Jimmy Smith enough for jumping on board this with us.

What are the plans for Queersay going forward?

We have many exciting plans for Queersay. We launch the Amsterdam edition in January and then are back here in the UK in February. We plan to find ways that we can access and help the community and truly become a new platform to educate, inspire and celebrate. We also create a ton of content from each event and we will be looking at how we turn this into a print journal at the end of each year. We are also looking for sponsors to help us grow the platform wider – so if anyone is out there! For all of our latest information, to catch up on the speakers or watch the videos back or just to keep up to date with us check out our website and social channels. And if you want to get involved or speak at one of our events, let us know.

Tickets are £6 from 

Photos of Queersay Amsterdam by Nadine

The Two Brewers, 114 Clapham High Street, SW4.

Facebook:  @wearequeersay. Instagram:@wearequeersay


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