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Out and About

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Out and About aims to create welcoming spaces for LGBT people in a world traditionally dominated by straight men.

We spoke to founders Heather and Michael, managers of the Rutland Arms and the Devonshire Cat respectively, to find out what it's all about.

What is Out and About?

[Michael] It's a non-profit organisation aiming to create a safe space for queer people and allies in the beer community in Sheffield. It's all about trying to make queer people feel more comfortable drinking in beer-y places. I think a lot of queer people have this disillusion between beer, being gay and stuffy old man pubs.

[Heather] Rather than just having monthly events we want to try and create a community. We hope to make people feel more comfortable, and also to promote it to other businesses to get involved, noticing where they may fall down on queer inclusivity. It's about people finding like-minded people that have the same problems as them, and have experienced the same things, and realising that we can all be pals through adversity.

Who else has got involved?

[Michael] Abbeydale made a beer with us to launch the organisation, Setting Out. That was really good of them. They've been big supporters. Obviously we dragged the Dev Cat and Rutland kicking and screaming with us!

[Heather] The next event we're going to do is at the Sheffield Tap. Different events at different pubs.

[Michael] We don't want to use the same venues over and over. We want to make people realise that they're welcome in different spaces.

It's a relaxed, easy environment

What's been the response?

[Heather] We asked a lot of people to get the beer on and we got it on at quite a few pubs around the city. Shakespeares, Walkley Beer Co - luckily, all the best pubs in Sheffield.

It was really good to see the reaction. The pump clip was very gay - quite colourful and queer. I was on the bar when we were serving it and no-one questioned it. I think my only thing would be trying to break out of where we know. Maybe stepping slightly outside of our bubble. One thing we wanted to do is get places to put a sticker up to show that it's a queer friendly space. If something happens to a customer at a pub, I want people to feel confident enough to go up to the bar and say, 'This person said something homophobic,' and know that the response will be positive, and that they'll sort it out.

What are your events like?

[Heather] We've only had two so far. The first one was quite big because it was the launch and it was during Beer Week. We were so shocked by the amount of people that turned up.

[Michael] Big beer names came as well. We sold an entire nine gallon barrel of beer, which for a Monday night is pretty insane.

[Heather] Then the next event we played boardgames. It was really chill. Everyone just introducing themselves and getting to know each other. The next event is going to be a bottle share at the Tap in June. At each event we're going to have a different activity. It's not necessarily about the activity, but it's nice to have an extra.

[Michael] It's a relaxed, easy environment and that's what we want it to be. We don't want it to be too structured.

Sam Gregory

facebook.com/outandaboutsheff

@outandaboutshef

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