ADDED ON: 01/30/2022

Meet the LGBT+ East and Southeast Asian club night queering Lunar New Year

1/29/22 | Pink News

For June Lam, running a queer club night for Lunar New Year represents an important chance to “stop everything, dance and be connected to our cultures”. Lunar New Year is one of the most important celebrations in many East and Southeast Asian cultures. But while it’s common for LGBT+ venues to host New Year’s Eve parties on 31 December each year, queer Lunar New Year events are a rarity. Indeed, while there are many spaces that centre either LGBT+ or Asian identities, it’s rare to encounter intersectional spaces that revolve around both. “There is no sort of existing space in London for us to come together and dance,” June Lam, founder of queer club night GGI, tells PinkNews. It means feeling torn, that although there are spaces welcoming one aspect of who he is, “I can’t bring other parts of my identity”. June’s night, GGI (pronounced ‘kee’), is billed as London’s first club night celebrating queer East and Southeast Asian (ESEA) communities, an “outlet where you know that you can bring your whole self as an ESEA queer person”. “I wanted a space that I haven’t been able to have access to, as a trans East Asian person who’s bisexual, femme, queer, all of my identities, kinda feels like they’re a bit fragmented,” he says. After debuting in December 2021, GGI is returning on 4 February, the first Friday after the Lunar New Year. Traditionally, celebrating Lunar New Year involves big family gatherings and lots of delicious food. However, queer folk can face unique social pressures during festivities, whether that’s the social expectation of being in a heterosexual relationship or having to endure being misgendered by relatives. June emphasises that GGI is an “outlet where you know that you can bring your whole self as an ESEA queer person”. “Our ancestors have been celebrating the new year for thousands and thousands of years. And so it’s really important to take up that space.” For him, running a queer, ESEA club night “is very much about believing in chosen family as important and trying to create that [space] for other people that might need it”.

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