LGBT+ community starts Ipswich Pride nights

The After Party Ipswich hopes to combat a lack of space for the LGBT+ community in Ipswich. 

Drag queen Miss Asia Thorne is performing at the After Party, which hopes to create a space for the LGBT+ community in Ipswich. - Credit: The After Party Ipswich

Sick of travelling outside Suffolk to Norwich and Chelmsford, the LGBT+ community is hoping to bring back Pride nights in Ipswich. 

Jay Austin of Just Jay Dance is leading the charge to create events aimed at the LGBT+ community that everyone is welcome to attend from the end of this month. 

Jay Austin of Just Jay Dance

Jay Austin of Just Jay Dance - Credit: The After Party Ipswich

Mr Austin said these nights out will create a safe space where people can "dress how you feel on the inside" and dance the way you want. 

"I feel we are going backwards," he added. "I find going out I don't feel safe going in certain places in Ipswich."

He explained that when he has encountered issues while out in clubs and bars in the town bouncers often find it easier to kick him out of the club than deal with the homophobic minority of people being rude to him. 

He said this is made harder with there being no LGBT+ clubs in Ipswich. 

"I know how hard I find it not to be to hold hands with my [boyfriend] down the Waterfront," the 36-year-old said. "But I can hide it if someone comes towards me who I think it will be a problem with it. 

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"If you are trans on hormone replacement therapy you find it difficult to hide and it's hard for your own safety."

Kenya Knott, drag queen

Kenya Knott, drag queen - Credit: The After Party

The first event from The After Party Ipswich, which Mr Austin has invested his own money into, will be Shantay you Stay inspired by the hit reality TV show Ru Paul's Drag Race. 

It will also have lip-syncing battles, and a dancing twerk-off for the audience to take part in. 

Other performers will include East Anglian drag queen Kenya Knott and Dolores, and London-based Asia Thorne. 

Podium dancers and DJ Luke will also be there on the night. 

The Night of Pride event will be held on Saturday, July 24 from 10pm to Sunday, July 25 at 3am in the Music Room.

Another event, themed around the 80s and 90s, is scheduled for August 21 with the After Party becoming monthly if it proves a success. 

Shantay you Stay from the After Party will be on July 21 at The Music Room

Shantay you Stay from the After Party will be on July 21 at The Music Room - Credit: The After Party

To buy tickets go here

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