5 Iconic Club Houses of the LGBTQ+ Movement.


For Pride Month, we have chosen five relatively well-known clubs that pioneered club culture and the LGBTQ movement.

Spaces of freedom and inclusion: exploring the LGBTQ+ community’s historic clubs.

If it were not for the LGBTQ Community we would not have Club Culture and House Music today.

In fact, Club Houses played a fundamental role in the birth and popularization of the LGBTQ+ movement, offering safe spaces where Queers could express themselves and meet freely, celebrating inclusivity and diversity without censorship.

In this editorial, we explore the history of queer clubs: meeting places that have contributed to the spread of LGBTQ culture, offering a look at their origins and the importance they have had in the past and still have in the present.

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After a night spent at Paradise Garage in NY – 1980, one of the first clubs where house music was popular.

1) Stonewall Inn – New York City, United States.

Stonewall Inn Club is a historic venue that has played a key role in the spread and empowerment of the LGBTQ+ community in New York City. Located in the Greenwich Village neighborhood, the club became famous for the events that took place in June 1969, known as the Stonewall Riots. In the 1960s, the rights of queer people were widely denied, and same-sex dating was illegal.

Stonewall Inn today

However, on the night of 28 June 1969, Stonewall Inn-goers rebelled against the constant police raids, sparking a resistance movement that marked the beginning of the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement.

The Stonewall riots catalyzed activism and struggle for the rights of the queer community nationally and internationally, becoming a symbol of resistance and a milestone in the liberation history of the movement. The Club is still active today and has become a cultural icon in New York City.

Stonewall Riots in 70s

After decades of transformations and closures, the club was reopened in 2007 and is now designated as a National Historic Landmark, whose historical significance has been officially recognized, making it a must-see for those visiting New York and wishing to learn about the history of LGBTQ rights.

Stonewall Riots in 1970

Today it continues to be a gathering place for the Queer community, hosting events, parties and performances that celebrate diversity and inclusivity. Its importance goes beyond nightlife, as Stonewall Inn Club also serves as a center for information and education on LGBTQ rights, promoting awareness and support for community issues.

The Cockettes – San Francisco, United States.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the theatre and drag group known as The Cockettes left an indelible imprint on San Francisco’s queer culture. With their bold, out-of-the-box theatrical performances, The Cockettes challenged gender norms and helped create a vibrant community of queer artists.

Despite their short existence, The Cockettes inspired a generation of artists and paved the way for new forms of artistic expression and sexual freedom, becoming the forerunners of the LGBTQ+ movement in San Francisco, which helped give it the nickname ‘City of Love‘.

The theatre company The Cockettes

Heaven – London, UK.

Founded in 1979 in London‘s famous Charing Cross Arches, the Heaven Club has always stood for freedom, acceptance, and celebration of queer identity.
Since its inception, the club has embraced queer identity and provided a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community. With its energetic music and lively atmosphere, Heaven Club has become a landmark for queer culture and celebration of queer identity in London.

Queue to enter the Heaven Club

During the 1980s, Heaven Club was at the center of London’s queer culture revolution which, unlike in NY, was carried out peacefully through art and dance: the club became a key hotbed for emerging queer artists, hosting drag shows, LGBTQ+ themed events and parties that attracted a diverse and inclusive crowd. Important was its contribution to the fight against HIV/AIDS in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, becoming a powerful spokesperson for the prevention of the disease, now rampant in queer circles.Heaven Club is still active today and continues to be one of the most iconic LGBTQ nightlife venues in London. After decades of success, the club has undergone several transformations and adapted to changing musical tastes and cultural trends.

Queer artists at Heaven Club

The club has maintained its reputation as the go-to venue for London’s queer community, welcoming a diverse crowd of people of different ages, backgrounds, and sexual orientations, adapting to new music and trends, of which London has always been a promoter.

Pikes – Ibiza, Spain.

Founded by Tony Pike, a legendary english viveur and entrepreneur transplanted to Ibiza, the club has been a landmark of the island’s music and cultural scene, but not only. Pikes has always been synonymous with limitless transgression, promoted above all by its owner and artistic director, Pike himself, who had a vision of a secluded place in the hills of San Antonio, where all guests could simply be themselves.

Freddie Mercury and friends at Pikes Eivissa, in 80s

The club was highly elusive and access by invitation only, becoming, naturally, a meeting place for queers and celebrities, such as Freddie Mercury, George Michael and Grace Jones.

Party at Pikes Club

Pikes is still going strong, although it has lost the super-exclusive patina that distinguished it until the late 1990s. It retains, in its format, a party dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community and an inclusive and colorful ambience, coexisting and having fun in the name of good vibes and good music, mostly house.

Le Depot – Paris, France

Le Deport Club was founded in 1978 and quickly became a meeting place for the Parisian LGBTQ community. Located in the heart of Le Marais, the gay district of Paris, the club has played a key role in providing a safe and welcoming space for queer people. The Deport Club was one of the first places where the LGBTQ community could gather, dance, and celebrate their identity freely without fear of discrimination or prejudice.

Inside the Deport Club

During the 1980s and 1990s, it organized drag queen shows, LGBTQ theme nights and parties that attracted a diverse and lively crowd. The club became a place of discovery, artistic expression and connection between people who identified as LGBTQ.
The vitality of the Deport Club had a significant impact on the visibility of the LGBTQ community in Parisian society. It helped challenge stereotypes, promote acceptance, and support the rights of queer people. The club played an important role in of Queer activism, hosting awareness-raising and fundraising events for LGBTQ organizations and the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Karl Lagerfield at Le Deport Club in 70s

Unfortunately, the Deport Club closed its doors in the late 1990s, leaving a void in the Queer nightlife scene in Paris. However, its historical and cultural impact remains indelible. Its foundations inspired the emergence of new LGBTQ clubs and associations that took up the baton in spreading queer culture in Paris.
Today, Paris is home to a vibrant LGBTQ movement with a multitude of clubs, bars and cultural spaces that welcome the queer community. These venues still offer a vital space for self-expression, celebration, and LGBTQ activism. Although the Deport Club is no longer active, its spirit and legacy continue to influence the Parisian Queer community and inspire new generations of queer activists and artists.

Inside the Deport Club


Guests of Paradise Garage in the late 1970s

It is crucial to recognize the contribution of these clubs to queer culture and LGBTQ activism. Through music, art, theatre, and celebration, they created a united community and fought for rights and equality.
As the club scene continues to evolve, it is important to preserve the memory of these historic venues and keep their legacy alive. They are icons of welcome, tolerance and celebration, symbols of a movement that made the world a better place for the LGBTQ community.

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