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Reflections

A litany for the Black Cap

The Black Cap has been part of North London queer nightlife since the 1960s; my mum can tell some stories of drag shows there from the late 70s when she was at drama school, and it was a regular haunt for me when I was living, studying, worshipping and working in the Borough of Camden. It was in the Cap that I saw my first live drag, watched friends take their first steps onto stage, and most importantly I built some of my strongest queer friendships in the upper bar over a pint. Everyone I know who has taken part in the queer life of North London has a Black Cap story, and has loved the place.

In 2015, after a few false starts, the Cap closed its doors for the last time under threat of being turned into luxury flats. The cooperative #WeAreTheBlackCap holds wonderful, celebratory vigils there on Saturdays, including many fabulous folks I used to share communion with, both in church and after.

We are the Black Cap
Two campaigners outside the Black Cap in September 2018

The Cap is not the only queer venue in London (or beyond) that has been forced to close and left the community poorer. I was delighted when Deborah from the Guilty Feminist dedicated an episode to queer campaigning, invited me back to Camden (specifically, to the Regent’s Park Theatre) to give a litany for the Black Cap and our other safe spaces. This is that litany:

For the young person unsure about coming out,
We need our space
For the bisexual woman on her first date with a woman,
We need our space
For the non-binary person whose gender expression attracts stares in the wider world, We need our space
For the young person unsure about coming out,
We need our space
For the bisexual woman on her first date with a woman,
We need our space
For the non-binary person whose gender expression attracts stares in the wider world, We need our space
For the asylum seeking couple who have never felt safe to kiss outside a locked room until they arrived in the UK,
We need our space
For the straight person learning to be an ally,
We need our space
For everyone who has ever loved the queer community and what we stand for,
We need our space

In the memory of Regina Fong and her sisters and in the name of all that is queer and holy. Amen.

The full, incredible episode featuring Grace Petrie, the Oxford Belles, Say it Loud, Save the Black Cap, and Kemah Bob can be viewed below.

By RevK

Yarncraft enthusiast, music lover, interested in everything. MCC clergy student and chaplain.
These are my views, etc.

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