Opinion: Dunedin Desperately Needs a Queer Nightlife Scene

Opinion: Dunedin Desperately Needs a Queer Nightlife Scene

Where the FUCK am I meant to be stunting my pussy?

Dunedin’s queer scene for the most part consists of one bar, UniQ, a Facebook group, and the occasional drag queen or king. These folks are doing the absolute most, don’t get me wrong, but what we desperately need is queer nightlife aimed at students. 

It’s no secret that town here is shit. However, queer people deserve a safe space in which we can have just as shit of a time as everyone else. I want to have a shit time because the music was ass and I remembered that I hate people, not because I dressed too gay and it got late and I started feeling extremely unsafe. I want to be able to use the men’s room and not be asked if I was doing drugs when I was just doing gender. I want to stop hearing stories of my friends being kicked out of clubs for kissing people of the same sex, or for being “too drunk” when they were visibly sober (and trans). I once took a trans girlfriend from Auckland out for a cute town date night while she was visiting Dunners, but it just turned into us vandalising TERF posters on the verge of tears, while drunk breathas circled us. In that moment, I felt ashamed that I’d brought her to this city.

Dunedin isn’t known as a queer city, despite our student population. The Dunedin subreddit regularly receives questions from aspiring students who are looking to move down, but are afraid to because they’re queer. This is unacceptable. We need to change our image and gay it the fuck up. Auckland and Wellington boast prominent gay clubs, where you’re guaranteed to get your fishnets hooked on someone’s leather harness and overhear frightening sex stories in the bathroom. The hyperpop is bumping, the fashion is life changing, the vibes are immaculate. You’re safe, you’re hot, you’re gay, and so is everyone else. There are weekly drag shows and regular community events. The same can’t be said for Dunedin – yet. 

It’s undeniable that the Uni has queer groups that are doing the absolute most for the student community, and they have established a safe environment on campus. However, this is of course restricted to daytime events or community activism. What we really, truly need is regular queer nights at clubs in town, where gay students can get just as fucked up as the rest and feel comfortable doing so. Overpriced cocktails in hand, oldschool gay anthems on the speakers, people casually asking your pronouns. Unironically paradise. Woof, our resident gay bar, hosted queer club night 'Heterophobic' in June. Staff told us it was "really great" to attract a "younger, more wild" crowd as a special occasion, but "it would be so different if there were gay clubs" aimed at students. Again, the team at Woof have done a phenomenal job at supporting the queer community, but we simply cannot rely on one venue to carry all the weight. 

Regular queer nights at local clubs would do wonders for the student community, and Dunedin as a whole. Imagine if Eleven or Catacombs had a queer night every month or even fortnight – no obligation for advocacy or community work, just putting aside one night every so often to play Lady Gaga and shut down homophobia. That’s all I’m asking. As Critic has previously covered, the shittiness of town and lack of student bars is largely to blame for the depravity of current student culture, and we need an outlet. Queer nights at clubs would attract a decent crowd that knows how to party, and improve the town experience overall while providing a safer environment for communities that really, truly need it. 

Also, first club to do a queer night gets a performance from my drag king alter ego, Boo Khaki, for no charge. I will get my (plastic) cock out, for the good of my people and my city. 

This article first appeared in Issue 21, 2022.
Posted 8:02pm Saturday 3rd September 2022 by Lotto Ramsay.