Crystal D’Canter, Kelly Mild plus general manager Heather and the whole team at Halfway II Heaven have made sure that the Charing Cross cabaret venue is a safe and welcoming space for LGBT+ military people every day of the year, and especially on Remembrance Sunday. This year is also the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One. Ahead of what promises to be a very special CK Sunday, we spoke to Crystal and Kelly about the day and also to a number of the Halfway military or ex military regulars about what this special day means and the support they get from Halfway.
Remembrance Sunday is something that has grown over the years at Halfway to Heaven. We are so close to the Cenotaph, plus with the venue being a safe space for LGBTQ+ MOD personnel and friends, it turns the day into something quite wonderful. A celebration, whilst we remember those who came before us.
Michael Steedy – Royal Navy
Halfway is a bridge between our two lives, a place we can celebrate who we are and that we are in the Royal Navy.
James Nicklin – Royal Navy
Halfway is a safe haven, a place to come and have fun, the support is brilliant and we really appreciate it.
Jay Pewtner – ex Army
Remembrance Day is when we pause to remember not only those who died in the two World Wars, but also in more recent conflicts such as Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s very important.
Matt Jones – Staff Sergeant, Royal Electrical Engineers
We’ve pretty much been adopted by Crystal and Kelly and it really is a family here at Halfway. It’s somewhere to come and relax and CK have also done other military events for us, they are the LGBT forces’ sweethearts.
We’ve long been supporters of the Ministry of Defence and Public Services and we’re honoured that they come to see us at Halfway II Heaven. These guys and gals do so much for all of us in such challenging circumstances and it’s so important that we can give them a few hours where they can sit back, relax and have some fun. We truly love all of them and appreciate so much those who have fought for our rights to be who we are. Remembrance Sunday is one of the most important dates in the CK diary – and we appreciate and love that the LGBT+ community have a chance to pay their respects on this day.
Robert Ely – ex Army
I was thrown out of the Army in 1986 for being gay and I started the fight to change the law so that people could be gay and serve in the armed forces. There was a group of us giving evidence to Parliament and fighting to be accepted in the military. The first time we went on the Pride march in uniform we were abused and spat on by other gay people. One of the only bars to make us feel welcome was Halfway and the support we’ve had from here has been important to all of us.
Michaela Reay – ex Corporal in the Army
On Remembrance Day we honour the sacrifice of others who stepped forward at times of great need. When I was in the Army any contact with someone who was gay or a drag queen etc was strictly forbidden, so the support we get from CK and everyone at Halfway is tremendous and it helps sends a message to young people today that they can now serve in the armed forces and be who they are.
Peter Gracey – ex Royal Navy and reservist
The day is for remembering and honouring those who went before us, those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can be who we are today and the freedoms we now do.
Lee Wardle – ex First Battalion Grenadier Guards
I was the first person to come out in my regiment in over 350 years so to represent them is a great honour on Remembrance Day. The amount of effort that CK and everyone at Halfway puts in to their support for LGBT people in the military is brilliant and so appreciated.