Following CUSU LGBT+’s decision to move its official night from Revolution to Kuda (Life), Revolution management have confirmed that the Monday Fusion LGBT+ night will remain a fixture at the venue. Along with newcomer Oh! Rama at The Fountain, the nights at Revolution and Kuda are set to make for a crowded nightlife schedule for LGBT+ people in Cambridge in the new year. The move was prompted by disagreements between the CUSU LGBT+ committee and the Fusion management on several issues, including the treatment of trans and non-binary patrons at Revolution.
In an open letter to CUSU LGBT+, Fusion night manager Paul Whitbread confirmed his intention to continue running the night at the Downing Street venue. Whitbread denied allegations that Fusion had refused to go along with the CUSU LGBT+ committee’s requests to designate gender neutral toilets and said he consistently took into account recommendations made to him by the committee. These included setting aside quiet zones in the club and training staff on certain LGBT+ issues. He also denied that there had been a lack of communication between him and the Revolution management and emphasised the success of the night in attracting large numbers of people in Cambridge’s small LGBT+ scene attracting far higher than the formal LGBT night at The Place (Kuda) which only attracted on average 85-150 people. Whitbread insisted that he will continue to run a “safe, fun and friendly club night for the LGBT+ community” and hopes to continue to attract large numbers of students to the night.
The promoter has had a tempestuous relationship with CUSU LGBT+ committees in the past, with CUSU LGBT+ removing their support for his ‘Thrust’ night at The Place in 2009 due to complaints about the night’s overly aggressive and sexual name and management’s attempts to create a “Canal Street, Brighton-esque gay club night” rather than the “relaxed gay-friendly night” preferred by CUSU LGBT+. According to the committee’s Ents officers, the decision to withdraw support from Fusion earlier this week came on the back of the night management crossing “a definite line of tolerance which we are not willing to see crossed” due to its lack of cooperation on issues such as setting aside gender neutral bathrooms, use of gendered language on facebook posts and a deterioration in communication wih CUSU LGBT+. Ents Officer David Lowis stated in a post on the CUSU LGBT+ facebook group he hopes that improvements in the new Kuda night such as “a specially selected bar, as well as bouncer team”, “one completely gender neutral toilet” as well as “handouts to staff and hold[ing] a presentation early in term explaining what we think to be important knowledge for anyone working on an LGBT+ night,” will make the night a safer and more welcoming space for the LGBT+ community.
Some students remain sceptical about the possibility that the increase in the number of queer nights could turn Cambridge into a Brighton of East Anglia. “Diversification could be a good thing, but there may not be the numbers to support the two nights in which case the CUSU night will probably win out” said one Homerton third-year. The student was generally optimistic about the move, saying “aside from the other complaints about the night, Rev’s never quite had the atmosphere Life had and drink prices are much more expensive.”