- Words Nadine Noor
PXSSY PALACE founder Nadine Noor poses the question: why is there not more being done to make nightlife and the dancefloor a more inclusive, safe space?
If you’ve never felt or witnessed exclusion or discrimination on a night out, then you are incredibly privileged. Whether it’s based on race, sex, gender, ability, religion, background or sexual preference, marginalised communities have always had to overcome barriers to enjoy, or make a career out of, the music scene.
New research by beer brand Desperados found that two thirds of people want to see more inclusivity on the dancefloor, and a huge 40% would go out more if the scene was more inclusive. So, if that’s the case, why is there not more being done around night life and making everyone feel welcomed so we can dance together?
I co-founded PXSSY PALACE in 2015, because I was frustrated with nightlife. Sexual harassment was normal, and I didn’t see enough people like me – queer and/or brown. We partied in the house because we felt we had more control, but the aim was to create that feeling of security you get from being in your own house, even when outside in the club, surrounded by people we wanted to connect with.
It started off as a club night prioritising people of colour from marginalised genders and sexualities, since there were few places that did so. Since then, we’ve been doing vital work raising money for LGBTQ+ youth and prioritising trans femmes of colour. Seven years later we’re still fighting many of the same battles we were then; line ups that are overwhelmingly straight white men, and now we have less space where our community can feel they can be due to many venues being shut down.
At our parties we have a variety of measures in place to make sure our communities have the best, safest time; the PP support team, of 5 to 15 people at every party who are trained in anti-sexual harassment; the sanctuary, an alcohol-free chill-out space with softer music, massages and food; a queer, women-led security team, hired by us, who operate the interior venue security; a buddy system, for solo ravers who want to come down in the first hour to meet people; and a donations-based taxi fund, to help disabled and trans guests of colour get home safely. There are so many aspects of clubbing that need a rethink so we’re truly inclusive of everyone that wants to be in that space.
Running PXSSY PALACE used to feel so scary, I used to think “what are we doing?!”, we were pushing against so much, but now it’s second nature to me. I never thought my lifetime of raving since age 15, would turn into my job, and I would have this deep passion for nightlife that culminated in something that people even outside of the club are inspired by, globally.
Looking back at history, queer people have created so much that has then benefited the rest of society. Queer black men and trans women within disco, house, techno and vogue, as well as Pride itself, often with little in return. If you show support and lift up the most marginalised communities, it in turn only benefits the rest of society.
The onus is often put on the marginalised communities to step up and fight for change, but without those with more privilege to support us it’s a loosing battle. Now that Pride month is over, and brands have changed their logos back from their (often performative) rainbow counterparts, where is the continued allyship? We still need our voices amplified and we still need the support, even now that it’s August.
I’ve been working with Desperados on its Rave to Save campaign which converts dance steps into cash donations for charities that champion inclusivity on and off the dancefloor, in a series of events across Europe throughout the year. It’s a great initiative, in that it’s not asking you to purchase or give anything, just dance and they’ll donate to the charity you choose. They’re also a good example of a brand that’s showing real commitment beyond individual campaigns or events; they’re pledging €200,000 for inclusive global and local charities across the year and at least 60% of the DJs they work with must identify as female or LGBTQ+, so it’s good to see that some companies are actively taking steps to make change.
I’d love to have a crystal ball so I could see how the party scene is going to change in the next 5-10 years. With the continued gentrification of spaces and the cost-of-living crisis becoming more apparent, queer spaces are disappearing rather than growing, which is one thing I hope shifts. The lack of venues and dedicated events was one of the reasons we started PXSSY PALACE, and it’s the reason I created a new festival with BBZ co-founder Naeem Davis, called Overflo, in London this September. Overflo aims to bring the LGBTQ+ community back to the dancefloor and creative spaces, with performances from some of the best queer, trans, non-binary, Black, Indigenous and POC talent in music.
All these things we’re campaigning for, the ability to be able to attend and enjoy an event or night out as the person you are, should be standard. But it’s not yet, so the fight must go on.
Tickets to Overflo are available here.