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  • Nic F. Anderson

Queer Collective Presents ‘Cheers, Queers!’And Aims To Create More Inclusive LGBTQ+ Spaces in NYC

Poster @heartdecobk

Just like in the heterosexual world, the patriarchy dominates the LGBTQ+ community. It is especially obvious in the nightlife scene. But a new queer New York City collective, Aveq Moi, is trying to change that.

The collective will host its first event, “Cheers, Queers!,” which will be a happy hour for “gals and non-binary pals” on Monday, March 7 between 6 and 8 p.m. at Manhattan’s The Q (located at ​​795 8th Ave).

Mack (she/her), one of Aveq Moi’s collective members, said the idea to create the Aveq Moi collective began after a group of friends were frequently asking themselves why they didn’t see themselves reflected in New York City’s gay nightlife.

“We are all big fans of drag and have been going to a ton of drag shows… Drag in and of itself is a celebration of gender expression, the majority of drag queens do so through celebrating femininity… So, why are we not seeing ourselves reflected in the audience's of those faces?

The name “Avec Moi” translates to “with me” in French. Mack said the name has two origins: her friend Hana (she/her) came up with the literal translation and Mack changed the c in avec to a q, to add some queerness in it. However, the phrase, “with me,” came from people not always having someone to attend queer nightlife events with. “A lot of us would show up alone and meet people once we were there,” she said, “But we didn’t have people who we could say, ‘Come with me!’

“Before I joined Aveq Moi, I quickly realized there’s a difference between gay and queer spaces. What Aveq Moi is trying to do is create more queer inclusive spaces for marginalized groups in the LGBTQIA+ community since it’s such a rare commodity instead of catering to the typical group: cis-het gay men,” Emerald (they/them), an Aveq Moi collective member, told Queer on the Sreet. “By always having a friendly face available in a sometimes intimidating situation, I haven’t experienced as many transgressions as others when it comes to attending gay events. Aveq Moi is contributing to this safe environment which is why this first event is a labor of love. It shows the beginning of all the progress we hope to make in the future.”

Aveq Moi has a plan in place to make sure everyone feels welcome at “Cheers, Queers!” on Monday. “We are focused on people of marginalized genders but everyone is welcome – as long as you are there with pure intentions,” Mack said. She added that has spoken extensively with the venue to find the best way to create an environment that is safe and inclusive. If anyone at the event causes any issues or problems to another attendee, will be asked to leave.

The collective doesn’t have any funding or budget, but in the future, Mack said she hopes the collective will be able to have a budget to expand from a happy hour to full-fledged events.

There are only three official lesbian bars and one official-but-unoffical bisexual bar in the city but more than thirty of gay bars catered to gay cis men. The number of “queer” spaces in the city are few and fleeting, mainly limited to pop-ups and unofficial take overs of local haunts.

Another collective member, Abby (she/her) said the collective welcomed her with warm arms. “As a queer woman, I've always felt a sense of un-belonging at gay bars, so I was so relieved to meet other people who had the same experience. There is absolutely no reason that people of marginalized genders should feel uncomfortable or unsafe in queer spaces. It’s time for a change.”

Currently, there are approximately 15 people in the core planning part; however, the collective is growing. For additional information, please visit Aveq Moi’s instagram page.

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