Why does The Queer Alternative exist?

We hear this one a lot from people in the queer and alternative communities (to quote one onlooker at Pride in London 2014: “can you be goth and gay?”).  While both the queer and alternative communities can be more open-minded and welcoming than most, there are a lack of spaces where queer people who do not enjoy mainstream pursuits, and alternative people who identify as queer can relax, socialise, and feel safe.  The Queer Alternative aims to create this space and raise awareness of the need for it.  We have a mission statement and everything.

What do you do?

You can read more about our goals on our About page, but in short, we promote the acceptance, visibility and equality of queer people within goth, metal, punk, and other alternative subcultures, as well as working to help individuals who identify with those subcultures find a place within the mainstream LGBT+ community. Essentially, we support and bring together queer weirdos who like dressing up and dancing to strange music.

Technically, that's what you're FOR. What do you actually DO?

We participate in Pride marches, put on free music and social events, run non-free but nonetheless fabulous LGBT+ events to help fund the free stuff, and liaise with existing club nights to create welcoming environments for queer people.

Where are you based?

We're based in the UK, and currently mostly run and/or are involved in events in London, Leeds and Southampton. If you're in the UK and want to see more of us in your area - or better still help us organise something in your area - please get in touch!

What's "alternative" when it's at home?

We're using it as a catch-all term to include non-mainstream subcultures. While we draw most of our members from the metal, goth, EBM, industrial, and punk music subcultures, we're also explicitly welcoming to furries, people on the fetish scene, LARP & RPG fans, and others who don't quite mesh with standard-issue popular culture.

And "queer"?

Anyone who doesn't fit the standard boxes of gender identity and sexual orientation. That's lesbian, gay and bisexual people, and those across the trans* spectrum, but also asexual and agender individuals, people who stand at the intersections of gender identity and sexuality, and people in queer poly relationships, among others.

Do you worry that some people use "queer" as a slur?

We feel that the word has been pretty effectively reclaimed by the LGBT+ community, and that there are few other terms that so effectively embrace the diverse range of people we represent. It's not our intention to offend, and we are self-describing. As for those who choose to use "queer" as an insult, the phrase "not gay as in happy, but queer as in Fuck You" comes to mind.

Do I have to be queer or alternative to support you?

NO!  As long as you believe in equality for all, The Queer Alternative welcomes your support.

Where do allies fit in?

We actively embrace and include our allies, and make them welcome at our events. They are our friends, our partners, and our families. They include cisgender people who score a solid heterosexual 0 on the Kinsey scale, people who have had same-sex experiences but don't regard themselves as queer, the curious, and those who refuse to pigeon-hole themselves.

We're building links between communities and creating spaces where, whatever your gender or sexuality, you are only as much of a freak as you want to be. We're inclusive by definition, and we feel that our goal of helping queer people express themselves within alternative subcultures is of as much benefit to our straight, cisgender friends as it is to us.

Where can I find out about events?

Please visit our Events Page or like us on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, or Fetlife for more information.

I want to get involved! What should I do?

Looking us up on social media is a great place to start! You can find us on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and Fetlife. You can also email us directly.

We're happy to welcome new organisers to the group.  If you have an idea for a fundraiser, or services you feel you can offer, do get in touch.  If you don’t have much time but want to help out, we are always looking for people to distribute flyers, share social media posts, and talk to their local communities.

Of course, you can also donate to The Queer Alternative, and put out calls for donations.

What's the best way to donate?

We have a Donations Page full of goodies, but the simplest way to donate is to PayPal money to thequeeralternative@gmail.com

History

In 2009, queer members of the London Gothic Meetup Group decided to spearhead a walking group at Pride in London. Since then, momentum and attendance has grown to multi-city presence of marchers, organisers, and supporters who are identifiers, supporters, and allies of those who feel that (to quote Andrew O’Neill) “we are more different than them”. We're an established community group with hundreds of members across the UK, and we put on a range of events, from cabarets, to club nights, to RPG evenings. In 2015, we formally declared ourselves to be a small charitable organisation.