The next generation of queer spaces with My Lover Cindi

Nestled in an otherwise quiet part of Flinders St in Adelaide City, the pink neon-soaked My Lover Cindi was heavily inspired by vibrant, femme-forward venues like Henrietta Hudson in New York.

Founders Rachel Hosking and Kate Toone wanted to create a space for our LGBTIQ+ communities to connect more frequently than the ad-hoc or monthly LGBTIQ+ gigs held at other bars.

“I think we’ve both at times found that vibe in other venues in Adelaide, but we just wanted somewhere that was like that all the time,” said Kate.

“It could be a Wednesday night, you know?”

“Adelaide has a really long and rich history of vibrant night spaces for queer play, for queer people, and we’ve definitely participated in that. In terms of the overall kind of landscape, there was a very one-size-fits-all approach to understanding queer experience,” said Rachel.

My Lover Cindi opened in 2021 during some of the more intense social distancing measures in South Australia, but it resulted in a more diverse offering of events including art classes, trivia, and cabaret.

“What could we ask people to still come out for if they weren’t able to even stand up in a venue?” said Kate.

“And so what we’re left with now, 18 months later, is a calendar that is full of different events.”

Making the venue and spread of events more accessible has been front of mind since day one for Rachel and Kate, but it hasn’t been easy.

“If you put in an accessibility measure for one population, it’s going to be inaccessible for another population just by sort of default,” said Kate.

Despite their best efforts, catering to people who are hearing impaired has been particularly difficult, as the impact on ticket cost for an Auslan interpreter would mean fewer attendees.

“We will continue providing where we can to keep building on that – whether it be providing a Fringe show once a year that’s Auslan interpreted, and making sure it’s branded really clearly,” said Rachel.

The resilience of My Lover Cindi alongside other queer-focused spaces like Diverse-City highlights a shift in Adelaide’s demographics and appetite to support different kinds of queer venues and events.

“Gone are the days of queer venues that are just DJs, dancing, and getting as drunk as you possibly can and then ending up with someone,” said Kate.

“We want all of these things that we maybe haven’t been brave enough to know that we could have before.”

Listen to the full interview with Kate and Rachel on Well Well Well here.

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