It’s International Women’s Day today! We wanted to take a moment to reflect on the past year and the fabulous partnerships we’ve had with empowering women and non-binary folk who’ve celebrated and supported akt. 

Hear how lockdown-borne Queer Culture Club originally formed, why House of Pride thinks queer platforms are important for the community and how Elaine Turner and Alice Nicholls used their love of running and cycling to support LGBTQ+ young people. 

Queer Culture Club 

How did Queer Culture Club form? 

One of the founder's Eleanor Wolfe is one of the founders of Queer culture club which is a lockdown built collective for women & non-binary, trans+ and GNC folk. We started back at the beginning of the pandemic as a platform to reach out to isolated members of the community. Jessie and I bonded over the desire to connect people not just through clubbing but through shared interests, experiences and talents, and by creating a sense of “home”.  

What kind of events do you do?    

We have an ever-growing range of people from the community helping us set up and facilitate events and collaborations. Our events include yoga classes, comedy nights, professional skills panels, discussion clubs, life drawing... too many to mention! We currently provide on average an event a night.  

We are also completely non-profit; any money we make on events goes right back into the community, donating to various charities or growing the QCC platform. 

We’ve been amazed by the overwhelming response we have received so far, the generosity of those giving their time and energy to help us, and the incredible amount of talent within our sphere. We look forward to meeting again in person and one day having our own physical space! We are also working towards charity status.  

Why did you pick akt to fundraise for? 

We chose to raise money for akt with our Queers in Quarantine Fundraising quiz last month. A charity focussing on homeless LGBTQI+ youth seemed particularly relevant at this time, considering another lockdown was forcing queer people back into potentially unsafe, unaccepting environments. This time the weather made it more difficult for people to escape their homes during the day, something that was felt even within our own community. We were very keen to support the incredible work you do.  

We were lucky to have comedians Charlie George and Victoria Olsina co-host the quiz, and it was a fantastic and also educational night.

Elaine Turner 

How did running lead to raising money for akt? 

During lockdown we started running as something to do, added fancy dress because it was funny and decided to raise money at the same time. Cleo and I chose akt as a number of charities that have been affected during the pandemic and this one is particularly close to our hearts as it supports people who have been thrown out of their homes just for loving someone and the charity offers great opportunities to help people get life back on track.

When you’re not running, what are you doing? 

I work for the NHS. I’m currently working on the vaccine programme overseeing the training and volunteer roles across London, as well as volunteering at my vaccine centre. Cleo works in sports events for university students and is president of an LGBTQ+ hockey club, she is also volunteering at a vaccine site and will soon be administering vaccines. 

You can support Elaine and Cleo’s fun running challenge here!

House of Pride 

Why do you think safe spaces for Queer female and Non-binary people are important? 

Alexandra D’Sa and Lu Corfield formed House of Pride as the answer to a question we hear time and time again: where are all the queer women? House of Pride has quickly became a go-to platform for the Queer female and non-binary community and their allies. 

The company strives to be as inclusive as possible, keen to hear from voices from all across the LGBT+ spectrum.  They want everyone to feel welcome at their events, and represented in their projects, but to understand that they are much-needed safe spaces for this community.  

What’s House of Pride’s ultimate goal? 

House of Pride is becoming well known for hosting unique events, but their main goal?  

To build a physical queer social space for our community, not centred around alcohol or clubbing. A place for us to be. A home. 

What makes an akt and House of Pride partnership good? 

We are united in our desire to always provide a welcoming and open environment that celebrates LGBTQ+ identities. We are also aiming, ultimately, for the same thing - to create a home and safe spaces for those in our community who need them.   

Alice Nicholls 

Tell us a bit about yourself? 

I'm based in Leeds, and I am a music therapist, singer and songwriter, particularly of socio-political protest songs; I'm also a session musician and music teacher, and a parent to a very grumpy house rabbit! My pronouns are she/they.  

We’re so impressed that you’re cycling 1,407km in support of our work! Why does akt strike a chord with you?

As a queer (bisexual and genderflux) person myself I know some of the struggles that come with being LGBTQ+, and remember how hard it was for some of my friends to come out and live authentically when their families were not accepting of them. Several of my friends in the LGBTQ+ community have over the years been disowned by parents, left by partners, or been at risk of homelessness, all because of who they are. I chose akt as my charity to honour all the young people who have the courage to step up and be themselves in a world that tells them not to, and to raise awareness of the struggles faces by young LGBTQ+ people day-to-day. 

You can support Alice's 1,407km cycle here!

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