The New Year always excites, me – so much happens in the first few months of the year, and of course there is Summer to look forward to. In the first few months we celebrate LGBT History Month, Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day. I always try and challenge myself to review the LBQ women’s community and see what I can do in the next 12 months to support it. I look at the current challenges, and how I can use my reach and brand through Planet Nation, and work out where the two cross over.
This year in particular, I have been reflecting on the amount of requests for a community space, the increased interest in spaces that are not focussed around DJs and nightclubs, and also the various women’s movements (of which there seem to be more and more popping up every week).
There is great evidence that shows that spaces build community, and so with this in mind, when I went to see a play at The Bedford in Balham and realised what an awesome space it was, I immediately realised it was the perfect space to bring the community together.
International Women’s Day takes place on 8 March (a Thursday), but because I wanted to showcase the diversity of talent and entertainment, I avoided a weekday and instead opted for a weekend so that I could really create that community space. Saturdays are impossible to hire an entire space without a huge hire fee and so, on Sunday 11 March, from 1pm until 2am The Bedford is being taken over and becoming an LBQ community space. It will showcase everything from cabaret and music, to literature and self-defence lessons (particularly important with all the #Metoo comments I saw on my wall late last year). There is even theatre; and of course there are DJs at night. We’re also offering pre-booked lunches and dinners, and it is family-friendly until 6pm. I’m hoping the community will come together, and make new friends, share their hopes for community spaces and activities in the future; and celebrate our diversity.
The only thing I wish I could change is the need to charge small fees for the various activities, but the reality of hiring a space over having one available is that there are large hire fees to cover, marketing costs – and for me, most importantly, I’m committed to paying a small fee to every person who is putting on an activity during this day. Another of the things I am always hearing is how our community struggles financially, often being asked to provide their services or entertainment for free. So I’m committed to paying every person the same. It isn’t a lot, but it is something. I’m hoping that the additional exposure of everyone promoting the event will also mean that everyone benefits from reaching new audiences; and LBQ women get to find out just how much there is taking place in our community. Although I have over 30 different people providing various activities, by my estimations, this is only actually about 20% of what is available in the London LBQ community!
You can find out more about this event on the dedicated website: www.rainbowsociety.co.uk. There are still a few slots available for DJs, musicians and workshops, but these are filling up fast. Tickets are already flying out the door and as time marches on I’m getting more excited that this really could be #YearoftheWoman.
If this is successful, hopefully there can be more – watch this space! #IWDextravaganza #RainbowSociety
About Planet Nation
Planet Nation is a listings and lifestyle website by the community for the community. It launched in 2016 following 5 successful years of running Planet London. As well as an events calendar to promote the events taking place in the community, there is also a variety of articles on various subjects including books, theatre, music and general lifestyle and opinion articles.
Planet Nation works hard to give visibility and a platform to those in our community keeping it going, and often overlooked. It is proud to collaborate and contribute on a regular basis and is always open to new suggestions of ways to further enhance our community.
Planet Nation is run by Naomi Bennett and a team of Planeteers (LBQ volunteers). In addition to the website, she works hard to support LBQ women through marketing and design support, sponsorship, training and more. She is always happy to talk to women about potential collaborations and ideas and is committed to improving the community and encouraging women to be their best.