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Margate Pride Rock night creates safe space for LGBTQ+ community

An evening of punk music took place in Thanet on the eve of Pride weekend to celebrate queerness and diversity.

Margate Pride Rock was held at record store Elsewhere in The Centre to kick off a weekend of pride celebrations across the town.

The evening was headlined by Pink Suits, a punk duo made up of Jordan Lennie and Ray Prendergast.

Scroll down to hear from Jordan Lennie who performed during the music night

Pink suits are part of a new LGBTQ punk scene in Thanet
Pink suits are part of a new LGBTQ punk scene in Thanet

Jordan said the duo set out to make political music: "We touch a lot on government politics, and then identity politics, sexuality, and how our bodies can be used for protest," he said.

The first song they wrote was a rally against the idea of being too politically correct.

"We think that's just people getting more rights and being able to say, 'you shouldn't say this because it is offensive.'

"This is people's lives that are being negatively affected by a sort of bigoted rhetoric.

"It's not political correctness gone mad, it's people trying to have a fairer, better life."

The band said Margate has become more tolerant, but there is still a way to go
The band said Margate has become more tolerant, but there is still a way to go

Although the night was a celebration of how sexual politics have evolved over the years, Ray said towns and high streets can still be a place of abuse for many LGBTQ+ people.

"It's great to create these spaces where they do feel safe," she said.

"But ultimately, if you don't feel safe going to the shop as you are... everyone should be able to do that. And it's not the case.

"I think these sort of nights are really great. They're really important.

"It's really nice to have a space where people feel safe and can be whoever they want to be."

Margate Pride Rock set out to celebrates queerness (15083949)
Margate Pride Rock set out to celebrates queerness (15083949)

According to the government's national LGBT survey, hate crimes towards people on the grounds of sexual orientation have risen by 27%.

"It can be quite hard to be queer in a small town," Jordan said.

"So yeah, there's a definite effort to make it not just the week of pride, or not just a month of pride, but but to create these spaces that are here to stay."

State of Mind and Toska Wilde also performed at the night and along with Pink Suits are part of a steadily growing LGBTQ+ scene across the Thanet towns.

The event was organised by co-owner of Elsewhere Sammy Clarke.

Sammy plans to eventually create a monthly LGBTQ+ event and has even talked about an LGBTQ+ rock school for younger people, to give them a space to express themselves.

"It would be really good for people who are 16 and leaving school, and to focus their efforts on that for a summer," he said.

"With smaller actions can lead eventually to bigger things."

The night took place at Elsewhere, a record shop and performance space
The night took place at Elsewhere, a record shop and performance space

Elsewhere was set up as a performance space and record shop last year, and will be hosting cult post-punk bands Squid and Black Country, New Road in October.

Read more: All the latest news from Thanet


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