Meeting and Socialising
LGBTQ people have used all kinds of places and buildings to meet and find partners for queer sex, for same-sex love, for socialising and for political activism. Women have faced more constraints in their use of public space than men, and appear in historical sources less frequently.
Public spaces have always been considered potential sexual spaces, away from the watchful eyes of family and neighbours.
Areas that were predominantly or even exclusively male social spaces provided opportunities for same-sex socialising and intimacy.
Cross-dressing has been used by queer people to mark out their own meeting places and events since the 18th century.
Located next to the fashionable West End, nightclubs and underground bars mushroomed in Soho from the early 20th century.
Clubs and pubs have long offered spaces where queer people can meet and socialise with relative freedom and as such become important community spaces.
A few lesbian clubs appeared in the mid-20th century though it was less socially acceptable for women to go to pubs until after the Second World War.