Femmi-Errect is a new club night that celebrates the femme identity, launching at Dalston Superstore this Friday. A “femme party fantasy come true,” the night will showcase music exclusively made by women and queer people, including 90’s hip hop, Riot Grrrl, new punk, and artists like Princess Nokia and Mykki Blanco. gal-dem spoke to Katayoun Jalili, the night’s organiser, to find out more.
gal-dem: What is the inspiration behind the night?
Katayoun: It’s inspired by the kind of party I want go to, and what I feel is lacking in the London scene. I want to be at a night where femmephobia is not allowed, and people can just be who they are and party all night without worry, knowing that they belong and are celebrated.
I’ve made sure all my DJs are people who appreciate what the night stands for. The people involved in every aspect of the night make up a diverse spectrum, in terms of sexuality and ethnicity. I wanted to give a platform to people that feel like they’re excluded by the gay scene.
What kinds of experiences do femme-identifying queer people come up against in gay bars?
It really depends what your gender identity and/or perceived identity is. Most of the time femmes become objects of glamour – people will non-consensually touch you, and if you give them any attitude you can expect to get called a bitch, or even have drinks thrown at you.
People can make you feel like you don’t belong in their spaces and try to get rid of you. These are all the things I have experienced personally, and know my friends have experienced too.
What about BME femmes specifically?
For black, brown and East Asian femmes, it’s even more difficult. Femmeness is harder to access if you have dark or non-western features – they’re seen as unfeminine due to white beauty standards (not that femme necessarily means feminine). It’s so much harder to claim a femme identity when you’re not white, because we always have to try harder to be seen as beautiful or desirable. But also inherent queerphobia is a big thing, people often automatically assume someone who is brown can’t be queer. So the intersection of both identities sometimes feels very suffocating.
Why is it so important that femme-identifying queers have safe nightlife spaces?
Personally, for me, it’s the most important thing at the moment. The gay scene is so centered around masculinity. For femme-identifying people, especially those who, like myself, don’t fall within the binary, sometimes it feels like we have nowhere to go out. It’s not always just about partying and getting smashed either, it’s also about community-building and being around people who get you. It’s having a space where you can feel like you belong.
“It’s not always just about partying and getting smashed either, it’s also about community-building and being around people who get you”
What should we look out for from you in the future?
I’m so excited to collaborate with more femmes of colour who perform and DJ. There’s a massive lack of femme PoC DJs out there and I want to create a space for people to experiment and start things up! If you want to do your first ever DJ gig, do go-go dancing, showcase visual art work or whatever, in a space that celebrates your femme energy, get in touch!
Femmi-Errect launches this Friday at Dalston Superstore. Tickets are £6 on the door, or free if you receive benefits, are a job seeker, or an asylum seeker (make sure to email [email protected] at least 2 hours before).