Nottingham’s only remaining LGBTQ+ nightclub, Propaganda, has been forced to close its doors permanently after being unable to renew its building lease in the wake of the Coronarvirus crisis.
The club, which ceased operations in line with the government’s imposed COVID-19 measures along with all other nightclubs across the UK on 20 March 2020, never envisioned that the closure would be permanent, stating: “We’ll see you on the other side.”
However, less than two months later on 16 May 2020, Propaganda announced via their social media channels that “with a very heavy heart”, they will be shutting up shop after being left with no other choice due to the “current economic conditions.”
The closure of the venue, which annually hosts official Nottingham Pride celebrations and entertainment, comes as a blow to Nottingham’s LGBTQ+ scene, who are now left with a mere handful of LGBTQ+ bars and pubs in which to enjoy a night out in an inclusive and safe space.
Nottingham LGBT+ support charity, Notts LGBT+ Network, which has been running since the mid-1970s, said: “Propaganda was one of Nottingham’s very few long-standing gay nightclubs. Today there are people who say that the need for gay clubs has lessened, even disappeared, with the ability to meet people through the internet on online dating sites, however, there is still a need for real as distinct from virtual places for people to socialise.”
Other supporters of the nightclub include Anna Preston, 31, Nottingham, who mentions the inclusivity of the queer-marketed establishment: “I think it’s the first and only gay nightclub I’ve been to. It was one of a very small number of places I didn’t feel out of place when I was early trans.”
Brandon Boyd, 22, a student at NTU originally from London, said: “I’ve made some of my best friends here. The fact that the only prominent gay club is closing is actually such a sad thing.”
Despite the praise and “truly humbling” support from the community, Propaganda did not exist without its share of problems.
While many revellers regularly enjoyed the weekly club nights and events hosted at the nightclub, it has faced problems with violence and was dubbed “Nottingham’s ‘most dangerous’ bar’” by the Nottingham Post in 2016.
Some members of the LGBTQ+ scene also claimed that it lacked in inclusivity and often felt more like a heterosexual nightclub, despite existing as a queer-marketed venue.