Greater London Authority/Caroline Teo

Sadiq Khan has emphasised the “need” for LGBTQ+ venues after it was recently announced that G-A-Y Late would be closing its doors for good.

“I fully understand the importance of LGBTQ+ specific venues,” the Mayor of London told GAY TIMES during a recent interview.

“I understand why people need a safe space, the empowering impact it has in relation to minority communities and so I was really sad when Jeremy Joseph announced the closure of G-A-Y Late.”

In a statement issued to social media on 24 November, Joseph, the venue’s owner, said the decision was made with “great sadness”.

“I have done everything I can to try to fight on and keep G-A-Y Late going, at a great cost to my own mental health, but it is simply not possible to run G-A-Y Late in its current location and it’s starting to take too much of a toll on me personally,” he wrote.

READ MORE: “The end of an era”: G-A-Y Late to close its doors in December

Joseph cited various reasons for shutting the venue down, including the COVID-19 pandemic, security concerns for staff and customers, as well as ongoing issues with construction in the surrounding area.

“We will carry on working with venues to make sure they stay vibrant”

Khan explained that he and Amy Lamé, Night Czar of London, are working together to support “venues at risk”.

“Unfortunately, the combination of the pandemic, cost of energy prices, landlords raising their rents and so forth has made it difficult,” he said of the various challenges facing venue owners.

The Mayor continued: “Amy is working incredibly hard with my team to make sure we keep what we’ve got.

READ MORE: Night Czar Amy Lamé: ‘We must protect our cherished queer venues from closure’

“But also, I recognise the importance of these venues to a really important community and we will carry on working with venues to make sure they stay vibrant and stay safe.

“And also, we’ve got to recognise that there are LGBTQIA+ Brits across the country who come to London because we’ve got these venues and these safe spaces and they can be themselves and that’s why it’s really important to understand the responsibility we’ve got to the rest of the country as well.”

No staff will be let go because of G-A-Y Late’s closure

Joseph assured punters that “G-A-Y Late is not going to be forgotten” and that “no staff will be affected by the closure”.

He shared that they will be redistributed to the G-A-Y bar on Old Compton Street and Heaven nightclub in Charing Cross, the other London venues he owns.

“For those who loved G-A-Y Late, my goal is to recreate an updated version of G-A-Y Late in Heaven’s DP and Stage Bar and to have more nights at Heaven, starting with a new LGBT R ‘n’ B night on Wednesdays,” Joseph explained.

“The biggest positives are that we put in an application to increase Heaven’s capacity and found a way to make Heaven wheelchair accessible.”

He also confirmed that the G-A-Y bar will now remain open until 1am seven days a week, an hour later than its usual midnight closure.

“I want to thank all the customers who have supported G-A-Y Late and to all the staff who have made it one of the most successful LGBT venues in the UK,” Joseph’s statement concluded.

“This is something I’m very proud of and something that can never be taken away from G-A-Y.”