There are plenty of things I have lined up to post and to share focused on the wonderful world of local drag, but I truly felt that I could not write them without posting this first. This one is a little more personal, and it’s about the closure of Her Upstairs at 18 Kentish Road.
As soon as I visited Her Upstairs for the first time, I knew I never wanted to leave. The staircase leading up to the venue (which me and friends later dubbed ‘The Magic Staircase’) is coated in various quotes and flowers and, even though when they started using the downstairs entrance which made more sense logistically, I did miss walking up the staircase. The venue itself is covered in fairy lights, with various art covering the walls near the stage and a giant light-up heart that gives the room a faint red glow. Even without the incredible talent it possesses, it’s hard to deny it’s a beautiful venue that instantly makes you feel at home.
I cannot remember exactly the first time I visited Her Upstairs, but I believe it was for ‘Not Another Drag Competition: All Stars’. I’d seen Meth and Ophelia perform prior to going there, and knew I wanted to see more of them- and I got my wish. I attended a few of the NADC nights with my friend Beth, and we instantly knew that we had found somewhere special and somewhere that we would be spending many, many more nights. I have attended various nights at Her Upstairs with many different people, and they have all fallen in love with it just like we did.
Her Upstairs was one of the first queer venues that ever made me feel accepted as a nonbinary person, and that is something I will truly cherish forever. I cannot imagine how it must feel to be a member of the community there, and I am sending all of my love to all of them. It is truly a magical place, but I am sure that magic will continue onto wherever their next journey takes them because it is the people who make a space that special and not the venue. All I can hope for is that this tells people that you must appreciate the queer spaces around you whilst they are still there- to give them the support they so often desperately need. We need more queer spaces that are not only tolerable, but embracing of LGBT people of colour and trans and nonbinary people, and Her Upstairs was exactly that and I hope to continue to follow them on their journey, regardless of where it takes them.