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We will undeniably do all we can to support Jade’s new space because our queer spaces are sanctuaries and we need to see more spaces led by QTIBPOC. Jade and Zodiac Bar are leading the way and taking its place as one of the first bars owned by a transgender woman in London. Planned to open this summer, Jade reveals her plans for Zodiac Bar and what we should expect.
Why did you name the venue Zodiac Bar? What is the philosophy behind the bar and what can visitors expect?
We named it because ZODIAC is universal, everyone is included in the ZODIAC, and everyone is included & welcome in our space, regardless of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, or race! Our philosophy is one of a community, where people from all over the LGBTQ+ spectrum can come together. A place where we can all be together in a supportive & fun environment. Visitors can expect a warm welcome from me, a family feel and fun & vibrant atmosphere!
What inspired you to open Zodiac Bar? How did you feel when it finally opened?
I felt like some of the other venues in London only catered to small sections of the LGBTQ+ community. I wanted to start a place where the entire community could come together and feel unity. I was happy when we started, and even more thrilled when it really took off, I didn’t expect so much support!
How important is it to have a venue that is led by a transgender woman?
Very important. I feel that my history and past give me a unique perspective that a CIS person might not have. I also want to inspire other Trans People to chase their dreams!
"According to the last research by U.N. Women, 97% of women have been sexually harassed in the UK. 40-50% of trans people and non-binary members adjust the way they dress due to fear of discrimination and harassment. As a club owner, what policies/rules are you putting in place to limit and help stop this toxic behaviour in the safe space you are creating?"
In our new permanent venue, we will have designated changing spaces so people can come and truly express themselves. We will have enhanced security to make sure all our visitors can expect a safe and welcoming environment.
"We have a Zero tolerance policy on any discrimination & harassment and will continue to work closely with the local council to get their continued support too!"
What were some of the discrimination and barriers that you have faced as a transgender woman or as an Asian member in London? What advice would you like to give to other people who have gone through the same?
I have faced limited employment opportunities, and have been dismissed in business conversations because people often judge me based on my appearance, this has happened in the general population, but also in parts of the LGBTQ+ community.
My advice is to keep fighting for your rights, but don’t jump to be offended. Often people say & do things that are inappropriate, but we can keep an open-minded approach (with a kind heart) & work to engage & educate people that don’t fully understand our community!
Who are your role models and why?
My biggest role model was my mother, she was a sociable, positive & caring woman who always saw the best in people.
What is your opinion about the LGBTQ+ nightlife in London?
I have had great times and made many great friends in the LGBTQ+ venues in London. That’s the reason I started ZODIAC, I wanted to bring people together and contribute towards it!
What are some of your experiences of queer nightlife outside of the UK?
I never experienced much outside of the UK; I spent a lot of time in countries where I wasn’t able to be myself!
Have you scheduled or are you preparing a special comeback for Zodiac bar after the lockdown? Can you share some of your exciting plans with us?
We have a fantastic new permanent venue opening in spring/summer 2021, which we are currently renovating! We will be a stone's throw from Camden Town, close to Warren St & Euston!
What are you looking forward to doing the most after restrictions have been fully lifted?
I am looking forward to throwing some great parties, seeing all my friends, and singing some Karaoke!!
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Interview by Maria Tomprou
Moonlight Experiences is led by a dedicated queer collective of diverse voices who are changing the perception of queer culture through curated activities and stories from the community. We are using the economic power of LGBTQ+ tourism to tackle the lack of QTIBPOC representation in travel. Profits go towards amplifying marginalised artists and supporting queer venues.
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Contact Person: Aisha Shaibu