Edinburgh doesn’t have a single lesbian bar. It’s finally about to change

A trans student was inundated with an ‘outpouring of love and support’ after announcing she was leaving college to open Edinburgh’s first lesbian bar.

The capital of Scotland, Edinburgh has a population of around half a million – but no bar dedicated to lesbians and queer women to drink.

Emilie Frood, 23, wants to change that. They tweeted on August 17 that “after much thought” they “officially retired from my masters” at Queen Margaret University (QMU) in Edinburgh.

“I’ve finally decided that I’m going to start Edinburgh’s first lesbian bar,” Emily said. “QMU has helped me grow so much with my first cycle, but I know what I want to do now. Wish me good luck.”

The reaction to her plan to open Edinburgh’s first lesbian bar has been “absolutely amazing”, said Emily RoseNews.

“The amount of support, love and care that I have received from people, obviously not a lot in person, but online, has been incredible,” they say.

“The purpose of this bar is to create a larger and more cohesive sense of community,” she adds. “And if that doesn’t happen by having a bunch of queer and lesbian people building this place together, then what do I do?”

And while the bar is still in the early stages of planning, the big hurdle for Emily was overcoming the fear of leaving college – which they have now done. The next step is to raise funds, possibly through crowdfunding campaigns.

Emily readily admits that she is not a money person – “I am not a financial expert,” she said, “I a m a homosexual ”- but many people have already made contact, offering help and support.

They add that while the lesbian bar will serve alcohol, there will be dedicated sober nights so the space is safe for those who don’t drink, as well as an art and exhibition program to showcase. Edinburgh’s LGBT + arts community.

lesbian bar

Emily as an undergraduate student at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh. (Supplied / Emily Frood)

Edinburgh’s first lesbian bar will be for “all queer women and lesbians”

The lesbian bar Emily envisions will be open to all queer women and lesbians, with accessibility and inclusion ‘at the forefront’ of their minds, though they admit it’s hard to find buildings in Edinburgh that are fully accessible.

“I want to make sure that the space I create will be as fully accessible as physically possible,” she says.

And in terms of who will the bar host? “I think that by advertising a lesbian bar, a bar for gay women, people will know whether they belong or not,” they say.

“For clarity, I am a non-binary trans lesbian. I would never ignore my trans and non-binary siblings. The history of the genre, especially within the lesbian community, is so complex.

“We don’t really remember or know much about this story, due to different cultural events that made it difficult to continue this story and teach it. But I know lesbians aren’t just women, not just butches and women, you know, it’s a lot more dynamic and complex because it’s personal.

“Basically, if you’re a cis man, don’t introduce yourself,” she sums up. “I want straight guys and cis men to feel like they shouldn’t be here.” Straight guys have become very comfortable going to gay places.

Emily has lived in Edinburgh for five years, having been based in Scotland since they left Australia at the age of 15. She considers herself a local, but balks at the idea that she is “well placed” to open a lesbian bar in Edinburgh.

“Others have thought of [opening a lesbian bar in Edinburgh], too, ”they say. “It sounds super cheesy, but it’s one of those things where the cause is bigger than me.”

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Larry Struck

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