Dyke Bar Takeover aims to create more LGTBQ+ spaces in Kitchener-Waterloo

Photo by Darien Funk

“There’s not many places in Kitchener Waterloo where it’s like, this is our queer space. And this is where we go,” Jules Hall said. 

Hall is part of Dyke Bar Takeover Kitchener Waterloo; an organization which aims to create safe spaces and events for members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community.

Kitchener Waterloo’s lack of queer spots has become increasingly apparent with the region’s constant shutdown of gay bars. “We have lots of young people and different organizations,” said Hall. “But there’s no common meeting ground.” 

DBT’s focus on women’s experiences sets it apart from other queer space organizations. “We want to center women specifically, but we’re never going to turn someone away,” Hall said. “The wording we use usually draws in people who are primarily women or those interested in a women-centric event.”

When listening to Hall talk about DBT’s events, it was hard not to notice the variety beyond bars. From comedy and trivia nights to the recent outdoor art afternoon at Schneider Haus historic site, events appeal to multiple audiences. 

“We can use the ability to support queer or marginalized performers. But the event itself doesn’t necessarily have to be centered around gayness,” Hall said. 

The pandemic hasn’t stopped DBT from creating safe spaces; most of their events so far have been held virtually, with some in-person. Their upcoming collaboration with the Kitchener Public Library, for instance, will be on Zoom. 

It’s a considerable effort given the scope of the event, which will include a storytelling workshop and performances.

The organization’s careful planning is clear with the precautions they’re taking. Notably, performers may have the chance to pre-record at the library to avoid connectivity issues. 

Hard work is not exclusive to any one DBT event — the team is constantly coming up with new ideas to bring people together. They’re currently working on a baking themed event for next month, which Hall called “close to [her] heart.”

The original DBT is in New York, and it inspired offshoots such as the one in Kitchener-Waterloo. “They helped us get started and provided some advice for us,” Hall said. “The whole idea that our two founders came up with came from Dyke Bar Takeover New York, but we’re not tightly affiliated with them.” 

Affiliated or not, Kitchener-Waterloo’s Dyke Bar Takeover is a promising chance for the LGBTQ+ community to come together. For a region devoid from vibrant queer spaces, their prescence is not only hopeful, but also much needed.

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