Earlier this month we celebrated two years of Andro & Eve with a special edition of A Reyt Queer Do. It was nearly two years to the day that we first screened But I’m a Cheerleader in Cafe 9, Sheffield, and we marked the occasion with a night of drag king cabaret, cake and queer joy.
We transformed Broomhall Community Centre with our trademark handmade decorations and we were happy to welcome new and familiar faces to the venue. One of our audience stating ‘the decorations were like something out of a dreamy retro prom dance’. Yasss!
The vegan cake sold out super quick, and no less than eight drag kings performed, some for the first time. Host Zayn Phallic gave everyone life with his 90’s pop themed act. A humble leaf blower brought all the drama, conjuring up Michael Jackson’s Earth Song in the best possible way.
As always we want say a big thank you to our volunteers, who work so hard to make our events run smoothly. Thank you to everyone who bought a ticket and supported the night, and to the kings for sharing their drag acts. We’re also grateful to Broomhall Community Centre for the use of their hall.
This was our last event before the summer break but we’ll be popping up at various events over the summer, including DocFest next week! We’re working hard behind the scenes on the next steps for Andro and Eve. Make sure you’ve signed up to our mailing list to be the first to hear all the news from us!
Here’s some more snaps of our audience and drag kings…
This post comes about after reading this article by Vibe Sheffield which hilariously describes Sheffield’s ‘thriving’ LGBT scene. Please. Hold my cuppa. Can we just giggle gleefully that Sheffield’s LGBT scene just got described as ‘thriving’?! If you didn’t laugh you’d cry. So instead of sobbing into our almond milk chai, we’re doing this. While we totally understand the need to highlight the good that happens in a city, rather than be negative, we also think the scene in Sheffield is in more of a germination stage, rather than the thriving and bearing fruit phase we just read about. Its also reflective of the wider situation at present where many lesbian bars have closed. The links will take you to a discussion of those issues. We’re of the opinion though, that there are more things a queer woman wants to do than socialise in a bar serving mainly alcoholic drinks! Think big people.
With that in mind, we decided to compile and publish our own alternative guide that highlights where, as a queer person you might feel super welcome and even, – whisper it – find fellow queer people!!! While Sheffield is generally a very open and friendly city, we have been on the receiving end of homophobic abuse / attention more times than we’d like, and we feel its important to highlight the very best this city has to offer for queer people.
Here’s the disclaimer: This is a highly biased and personal guide. (We’re both cis, white, queer, lesbians). It also focuses on alternative stuff a quick google search won’t unearth, and that we’d actually recommend. But neither of us can say we know all there is to know. So we write this with the hope that you’ll get in touch and say ‘hey, I know about this cool thing’ and then we’ll update this post. But we also know Sheffield is very good at keeping things close to its chest, so we realise all the queer secrets may stay just as that. And thats fine. But with no central hub that tells you all the LGBTQ+ things going on in Sheffield, it feels like this is a good moment to get something out there. To share the reality of trying to find queer spaces in this city. And hopefully help those new to town, or just new to identifying on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, where you might find your new queer family. And now to our guide!
Well first off, theres Andro and Eve! Jokes. No really. We’re one of the only organisations in Sheffield creating regular pop up events celebrating queer culture. From film nights, to spoken word events, to our highly successful drag king night The Kingdom Come, and queer party series A Reyt Queer Do, you’re sure to be met with a warm welcome and DEFINITELY be in the company of fellow queer people. Our events are for everyone*, and can be found on this website, by signing up to our mailing list, or on Facebook / IG / Twitter. *Occasionally we host Autostraddle Brunches for lesbian, queer and bisexual women / non binary people only.
Pity Like is an occasional queer club night focused on talent, inclusion and rejecting gender binaries. Its at DIY space the Audacious Art Experiment and if you like a sweaty, alternative club experience with BYOB you’ll love it. Audacious also hosts Cub Rush, ‘Blissful dance hooliganism – for queers and freaks’. We hear its good, but we haven’t yet checked it out. Climax is the biggest LGBT+ club night in Sheffield hosted once a month by Sheffield University Student’s Union.
Verse Matters is a feminist spoken word and poetry night held once a month at Moor Theatre Delicatessen. You’ll find a warm welcome here and plenty interesting haircuts. Trust us. Its inclusive and diverse and you can often get warm fuzzy feelings from the friendly vibes. Speaking of Moor Theatre Deli, they’re known for their weird and wonderful theatre and performance programme and support of LGBTQ events. Based in new venue on Eyre Street, we think it’s the friendliest theatre venue in town.
For many of us queers, going out at night is, well, just a bit much. The sofa and a Netflix session / queer web-series holds too much appeal. So heres the DL on what Sheffield has to offer the active queer during daylight hours. Its actually a bit shocking we’ve waited this long to mention ROLLER DERBY. Whoops. Sheffield has not one, but THREE roller derby teams including, Sheffield Steel Roller Girls, (A and B team) plus , The Hallam Hellcats and mens team The Inhuman League. All are trans friendly and inclusive in their ethos. If you don’t fancy whizzing round on skates at top speed, you can just go watch a match! Spending a weekend day at one of SSRG’s bouts is like entering a magical queer land. There’s plenty of stalls including those selling vegan food, a raffle and of course top quality sports entertainment.
Sheffield Hiking Dykes has the best name of all the names ever and is just great. One solely for lez-beans, so head on over to their Facebook Group and request to join so you can attend one of their once monthly walks. AFC Unity are an awesome independent women’s football team. While not specifically for those identifying as LGBTQ+, their inclusive attitude and focus on championing good causes means they have a healthy proportion of queer folk on the team. The Climbing Works is for those of you who don’t mind falling hard from fake rocks! But also. There can often be several queer women hanging around (quite literally), at the same time, thus making you feel the queer family is quite active. Also, theres a real friendly, chilled vibe and helpful staff to boot.
Lazy Queer Days
But I’m not active! We hear you say. If the last time you wore trainers for actual sports was in a PE lesson way back, when touching your toes was an achievable goal, don’t worry, here’s what you need to know for where to go on a super queer lazy day.
Pom Kitchen is a newish vegan and veggie cafe on Sharrow Vale Road that does the best gluten free and vegan cakes we’ve come across. Courtesy of Fro by Joy, who also supplies their delicious Froconut (coconut ice cream). Seriously, you need to try it. As well as great tea and coffee and amazing banana bread, they serve things that are not sweet too. The welcoming staff and clientele are mostly women and our spidey senses have definitely picked up a queer vibe from many of those enjoying their Rainbow Bowls.
Down the road from Pom is Sharrow Vale Hardware. We include this shop solely because of George the cat, manager of said shop. Stroke his fur and wonder at its softness. He often sits on the counter and oversees his human staff. Kitchenware and cats. Lesbian shopping experience sorted. (Resisting puns so hard here). Insert your own. Other cafes you might spot fellow queers / hipsters* are The Holt, one of the City centre’s most calm spaces, serving a good mix of vegan and GF treats and great coffee, Tamper Sellers Wheel, Forge Bakehouse,Homemade by Thelmas and Cafe #9, the latter two both in Nether Edge and offering good veggie and vegan food options.
* gaydar interference from hipster style is a problem these days)
If you like a good bit of queer literature, seek out Jepps Books, Sheffield’s radical book emporium. They stock plenty good queer magazines, zines, and books, plus the LSGSM ‘Pits and Perverts’ Tees and badges. Originally situated at Moor Theatre Deli, they’re now in a period of transition, so you’ll find them at various locations. However, plans are afoot for opening a proper store. Fingers crossed. Also good for picking up queer magazines like Girls Like Us is La Biblioteka situated on Pinstone Street, Sheffield City Centre.
If you want to get creative, Edge of the Universe Printing Press often host screen printing and zine making workshops. Fond memories of an afternoon cutting out fine shapes, and watching the print designs transfer, surrounded by many a queer lady, come back to us. With a real welcoming approach and affordable; it’s a fun way to spend a few hours.
Like unicorns, the LGBTQ+ community can sometimes be so elusive as to be invisible. But sometimes, magically, they’ll appear at an event and the next day you’ll think, was it all just a queer dream? The following, are all events in Sheffield that happen once or more than once a year, and fit our ‘its a bit queer here’ theme.
Sheffield Zine Fest usually takes place in February and is probably the gayest space we’ve been in in a long time. Queer zines for everyone! So much feminist literature you end up rushing back to the cashpoint to refill your wallet just so you don’t miss out on this rich bounty! Its marvellous. We love Girl Gang Sheffield for their immersive film screenings, sharing positivity and empowerment for all genders. Events are usually announced via their Facebook Page. Catch Out Aloud, Sheffield’s very own LGBT choir at one of their concerts throughout the year. Their repertoire involves a good mix of material and concerts provide an uplifting atmosphere.
Transforming Cinema is Sheffield’s first film festival focused on transgender and non binary films and storytelling. The first, held in November 2016 was produced by E.D.E.N film, who also often run film courses for those LGBTQ identified. Hopefully it will return. Peace in the Park is a free community arts festival offering live music, a climate zone, healing area and all sorts of other interesting stuff. Its inclusive and diverse and the vibe feels a bit like an early 90’s rave but with added yoga, trees and families. Peddlar Market happens on the first weekend of every month on Burton Rd, Kelham Island. With food, beer crafts and music, you can often spot a few queers in the crowds, and the choice of food just keeps getting better.
On May 17th Sheffield celebrates International IDAHOBIT Day with a one minutes noise, usually at The Peace Gardens. That’s reyt Yorkshire. Pride Sheffield at Endcliffe Park happens in the summer, and has both performances, stalls and a community tent. Its all free too. Bring a picnic and enjoy soaking up the rainbow fest. Sheffield Docfest brings together some of the world’s best documentary film makers. While the festival is still learning how to engage with the local community, it does offer the chance to meet some brilliant queer people and see the newest queer documentaries.
A special mention now for all the live music that happens in Sheffield. Pick your fave artist, and hopefully your queer family will have also chosen the same gig to attend.
Support Services and Groups
The aforementioned Vibe guide gives a good run down on the support services available for LGBT+ people, so we’ll not replicate that here. Though we would also add that SAYit offer support to young people 13 – 25 identifying as LGBTQ+ and their families. T – Boys is a peer run community social and support group for those assigned female at birth who consider themselves on the trans spectrum or who are questioning their identity including trans men at all stage of transition, non binary, genderqueer and intersex people. Sheffield Bi Social is a social meet up group for bi/ pan people and their allies. Tiger Strut is an organisation active in Sheffield with the aim of increasing the visibility of South Asian LGBT people.
The personal is political for us LGBTQ folk, so if getting angry about this heteronormative world is often an issue for you, why not check out Sheffield’s anti capitalist queer group QASH (Queer Agenda Sheffield). They can often be found attending protests and organising DIY parties. Action for Trans Health also do great work in raising awareness and fundraising for trans healthcare.
Now. A common misconception seems to be that all LGBTQ+ identified people are somehow really into terrible dance music and alcopops. We’re not. Luckily Sheffield is apparently the real ale capital of the world, and so we’ve handpicked some pubs where you can enjoy some fine ales in friendly and stare free atmospheres. The Rutland Arms in Sheffield City Centre does the greatest Halloumi Burger. Ever. Plus lots of other very tasty pub grub options and impressively leafy beer garden. The Broadfield on Abbeydale Road has a good cocktail menu as well as a chilled beer garden and The Beer House on Eccleshall Road, has a friendly atmosphere and great ales too. There are plenty other great pubs and cafes in Sheffield, but we’ve focused on the ones where time and again, we get a warm welcome and find ourselves in the company of fellow queers.
So that about rounds up our queer guide to Sheffield. Phew. Who knew there would be so much? Well, there’s not. And thats the point. Partially due to rising acceptance of LGBTQ people, but probably more to do with economics, LGBTQ spaces are getting harder to find. Its great that LGBTQ people like us don’t have to spend all our time in one basement bar for fear of hate crimes, but at the same time, queer family is a real and important thing. Finding them makes life richer and more enjoyable. We hope this guide might make that a bit easier in South Yorkshire’s biggest city. And we hope to see you at an Andro and Eve event in future; a big warm welcome awaits!
If you want to suggest a cool place / thing we’ve missed off, and you can guarantee it fits our criteria of being queer friendly and being top quality, use the contact form on this website to get in touch and tell us about it.
2016 was a tough one for lots of reasons, and we are grateful for independent media such as Autostraddle, Media Diversified, DIVA, Bitch Media, Black Ballad UK and Girls Like Us Magazine amongst others, for providing alternate viewpoints and a sense of community in these difficult times. However, we can’t help feeling excited and a little bit proud of what we’ve achieved here in Sheffield at a time when it seems that women-focused and queer spaces are needed more than ever.
Since going social media live with Andro & Eve in April this year, we’ve now got a brilliant series of sold out events under our tool belts (#sorrynotsorry). Watching the growth of what started as the seed of an idea at a lesbian night in Berlin back in 2015, has been a very satisfying beginning to what we hope is a long and successful journey.
Our first event in May was a women only screening of Jamie Babbitt’s But I’m a Cheerleader at Café 9. Armed with hand-made pom-pom decorations, free ice cream courtesy of Emily’s Ices and a giant vegan cheerleader-skirt cake (yep), we had a brilliant night. It was nerve racking, but we loved it. Successfully bringing strangers together to enjoy this cult classic in a safe environment was a real win for us.
We then took part in Autostraddle’s International Brunch weekend where ten of us met at Depot Bakery and enjoyed the best type of food; Breakfast. We literally put Sheffield on the queer lady map that is Autostraddle.
Our second pop-up cinema screening in October, was Tomboyby Celine Sciamma, which featured a colouring competition, with the winners being totally thrilled with their free tickets to THE KINGDOM COME in November.
Our drag king night had been a long time in the making, and was our first larger event, but with a fab lineup, talented hosts (Adam All and Apple Derrieres), plenty cake and so much sparkle, we knew we had something special, and the crowd loved it.
We’re so proud of what we, a lesbian, queer couple, have managed to achieve, with zero funding, but a whole load of hard work and enthusiasm. We’re proud of the fact that we’ve paid all our artists, catered specifically to audiences often not the focus of LGBTQ events (women identified and non binary folk) and highlighted queer culture through high quality events. As well as these events, we’ve enjoyed and supported as many other shows, screenings and festivals as we could, and have been totally inspired.
Notable highlights include Kate Bornstein at Queer Contact, SQIFF in Glasgow, The Punk Singer screening by Girl Gang Sheffield, (Which incidentally, Rhiannon recorded a cover for, of Le Tigre’s Les & Ray for Girl Gang’s accompanying CD), Strike a Pose at Sheffield Docfest, Transforming Cinema in Sheffield and Key Change by Open Clasp Theatre, and of course the Formation World Tour. I mean. Seeing BEYONCE was a lifelong dream, and it was everything. Grimes, Christine and the Queens, Lisa Hannigan and Agnes Obel were okay too….jk, they were all sublime. We’re a little bit in love with all of them. Female supergroup maybe?
We have sooo many of plans for 2017, (our first event is a screening of Gender Troubles: The Butchesby Lisa Plourde) but making sure to grow in a sustainable way, while continuing to make a space that is diverse in its representation and audience is a key focus. We’re looking forward to more collaboration and always keen to hear from people who might want to work with Andro and Eve.
Special thanks this year to our volunteers who’ve helped make the events happen and the local organisations and individuals who’ve helped promote Andro and Eve. We’d also like to thank publishers, Our Fave Places, Now Then, Exposed, and Vibe Sheffield for helping get the word to a wider audience about what we’re doing. Roll on 2017!
Katherine’s personal goal for 2017 is to bake more vegan cakes, so if anyone has recipes, please share! Rhiannon’s personal goal for 2017 is to eat more cakes in general.