These venues bring people together, yet many have closed their doors, some forever, leading certain people to be forced into long periods of isolation.
Over the past year, those venues that have restricted service have had more time to focus on policy, and importantly culture – this includes LGBTQ+ inclusion for both staff and the wider community.
Inclusion has been at the forefront for businesses this past year, and I believe with the cancellation of certain Pride events, venues have been there to step up, staying open when they can, pivoting their services, and providing a much-needed haven for the community.
Hilton, Salsa Soho and Vauxhall Tavern are three landmarks who have excelled in LGBTQ+ inclusion for their employees and customers this past year, running relevant events, implementing inclusion strategies and making pledges to help and support the community.
Mental health implications
The key challenges that these venues are currently facing are many. The largest one is the easing – or not – of restrictions.
Many of the venues that support the LGBTQ+ community use their income to drive initiatives, and events that help the community. Without this income, these initiatives can’t exist, and slow progress within this space. Also, without income, they are unable to pay their staff, meaning extensive redundancies.
From an employment perspective, working in a safe space is vital for many LGBT+ employees’ mental health and development.
Changing to a workplace that doesn’t have the same accepting culture can cause huge risks to their mental health. In short, continuing to risk the future of these venues causes severe problems for all those involved.
Between and rock and a hard place
The implications aren't just about lack of money, as important as this is, it is about what this is doing to people.
For certain individuals this can be even worse, including those from the LGBTQ+ community members who are uncomfortable being themselves at work or at home and look to these venues as an authentic oasis to act like themselves.
Right now, the Government is stuck between a rock and a hard place in that they don’t want to keep these venues closed because it’s bad for the citizens, and they have no choice but to spend on schemes to try and keep them afloat rather than generate tax income, but they also don’t want to open them as they don’t want to be responsible or be criticised for the potential rise in deaths as a result of their decision.