Who we are
Spectrum will be Liverpool's first queer cafe, bookshop and events space that celebrates diversity by providing a welcoming and accessible safer space with events and activities to inspire and enrich the human soul. Our space will be specifically for LGBTQIA+ people, d/Deaf, Disabled and neurodivergent people and their allies of all ages. Our space will be alcohol-free and all of the food will be vegan. We will also have a library and shop available featuring books, art and other items from queer creators.
Why do we need Spectrum?
Safer spaces (CW: anti-LGBTQIA hate crime figures)
Anti-LGBTQIA+ sentiment is rife within the world and even within our local community. From 2014-15 to 2020-21, reports of homophobic hate crime within the UK more than tripled, and more than quadrupled for transphobic hate crime reports. In one year spanning 2020-21 Merseyside Police logged 792 hate crimes based on sexual orientation and 102 based on transgender identity; and a further 2,857 based on disability, race or religion. This isn’t good enough. Queer people need spaces where we can feel safe to be who we are and love who we love. Spectrum will have a clear and open safer spaces policy, welcoming input from all marginalised people for it to evolve and adapt to the needs of our communities.
‘Being your full authentic self’
‘Seeing loved ones growing into their most authentic selves’
‘Not caring if you are weird or different but embracing it’
‘Uninhibited self expression’
‘Beyond binaries and beyond expectations’
‘A force to be reckoned with’
These are just some of the responses we’ve got to the question: what does queer joy mean to you? In the midst of all the queerphobia, we can sometimes forget the pure joy that can come with being LGBTQIA+. Spectrum celebrates our communities with pride and we love everyone who flies under our banner. It will be a positive space to explore and rejoice in what makes each and every one of us who we are.
Spectrum will centre d/Deaf, Disabled and neurodivergent people from the ground up as important members of our communities. Access needs are often an afterthought if a thought at all, which can leave d/Deaf, Disabled and neurodivergent folks feeling forgotten about and without the inclusion we deserve. Our staff will be trained in British Sign Language. We will have menus in large print, high contrast and braille. Our space will be level access. We will have accessible, all gender toilets available. We will have quieter areas/hours for those with noise sensitivity. We will have options for easier held cutlery and crockery. We will have lowered counters with hearing loop installed, tables of varying heights and chairs with and without armrests. Water bowls will be available for assistance dogs. We will be breast/chestfeeding friendly with activities and food options for children. We could go on and on. Most importantly, we will remain open to feedback and suggestions from our communities on how we can do better.
Educate and Inspire
Spectrum will be a hub of knowledge, entertainment and inspiration. We will have a library featuring LGBTQIA+ and intersectional books for all ages from activist ABCs to trans YA fiction, from queer history to lesbian romance. We will host events for all kinds of people, with collaborations including sexual health workshops, tales from Greenham Common and drag-lesque already lined up. We are keen to hear from community groups, creators and speakers from all walks of life who would like to work with us in educating, inspiring and entertaining our communities. Eventually, we would like to open a bookshop aligning with our core values which are pro trans, sex worker, LGBTQIA+, Black, POC, d/Deaf and disabled, fat, immigrant, women, and other marginalised identities - and actively rejecting anything that contributes to the continued silencing and oppression of any of these groups. We would also like to feature art and other items from local creators for people to admire and purchase if they wish to.
Get yourself a pen and some paper and write down all of the brilliant queer spaces in Liverpool you can think of. Now, from that list, highlight all of the ones that don’t revolve around alcohol. Drawing a blank?
A 2018 study from Stonewall found that one in six LGBT+ people reported drinking almost every day over the last year, compared to one in ten people in the general population; and a recent NHS study found that 32% of LGB adults reported drinking more than 14 units per week compared to 24% of straight adults. If the only spaces available to LGBTQIA+ people are those with a culture of heavy drinking, how can we expect this not to have an impact on our relationship with alcohol? Spectrum will be an alcohol free space, making it accessible to non-drinkers, young people and those who just want to have a good time with a good mocktail or cup of tea instead!
What will we do with the money?
With your generous donations we will be able to get set up in a suitable space, furnish, decorate, make any initial purchases and create an accessible space. Any money over our target will go towards making these things even bigger and better, as well as creating an initial queer library, hosting events, and sourcing resources needed in our communities such as gender affirming clothing, period products and literary material.
About the directors
Rose (they/she) and Cassie (she/her) are sisters hailing from Liverpool and raised by lesbian activist mothers. Rose is queer, genderflux and neurodivergent and has backgrounds in a number of areas including burlesque, sexual health and education, and is trained to Level 2 in British Sign Language and Counselling. Cassie is mixed race and hard of hearing and is currently training in Level 3 British Sign Language and working in hospitality.