- 13 Sep 23
The popular Cork haunt has recently revamped their venue space for upcoming Freshers events, removing all traces of the venue having been a queer space, cancelling weekly drag shows and events
Chambers, a large disco bar and event that promotes itself as a "favourite haunt of the LGBTQI+ community in Cork for over 15 years" has recently revamped its queer spaces.
The venue, ran by the Reardens group, has been open since 2006, formerly acting as a space for queer people of all ages, holding queer club nights, and weekly drag shows.
However, in recent times, Chambers has rebranded to Sinners, catering towards incoming freshers for the new college term with a spate of events.
In a passionate Instagram post, corkqueers wrote of the severity of this decision: "The rainbow flags have been removed, signs have been replaced and posters showcasing the weekly queer events have been taken down. As well as a weekly drag show being cancelled."
This controversial decision follows the recent exponential rise of hate-related attacks and incidents perpetrated against members of the LGBTQ+ community up and down the country.
In only May of this year, the brutal assault of a schoolboy in Navan exposed the harsh realities that young queer people in Ireland face day-to-day.
Likewise, in June, a gay couple in Drogheda, Co. Louth, were verbally harassed and assaulted by a violent gang of teenagers while walking their dog.
Recent Garda figures further emphasise the dangerous conditions faced by queer people, with hate crimes increasing by 29% in the last 12 months, LGBT+ groups being the most targeted after racially-motivated incidents.
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Being among the most established venues catering to the queer community in Cork, Chambers have undoubtedly had a profitable monopoly on the scene, "in a time when homophobia and queer hate crimes are on the rise, to see our safe space reduced to a monetization tool is heartbreaking," reads the statement.
In the conclusion of the post, corkqueers condemned the move, denouncing both the Reardens company as well as Sinners events, with many calling for a boycott.
Resident drag queen at Chambers and Cork native, Krystal Queer also addressed the decision in a recent Instagram video. In the video, the drag performer explained that their main source of income had been "slashed," despite receiving no official notice regarding the decision, finding out that they will no longer be employed to perform at Chambers through word of mouth from bar-staff.
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"I found Reardens group to be blatantly homophobic, from overhearing their team use homophobic and transphobic language all the time, their banter that just has the queens and the staff of Chambers at the butt of every joke and their overall disdain and neglect for the wellbeing of Chambers," Krystal continued.
"Reardens group wanted to mask the fact that Chambers was a gay bar in order to draw in more customers," says the performer.
As of the time of publication, Chambers and the Rearden group have yet to issue a public statement addressing the situation.
- Film & TV
- 20 Sep 23