Gay Suffolk: A Personal Guide
By Paul Marsden
Our county's famed for its countryside, stunning coastline and villages, but what happens if you're a member of another community – the gay one?
As lovely as it is, scenery is not particularly helpful if you want to meet like-minded people. So how do you meet other gay people in such a rural county? Here are a few suggestions.
Pubs, clubs and more!
Pubs are popular places to meet other people, probably due to the ability to pop on a pair of beer spectacles if you need to. We have gay pubs in Honington (The Fox Inn), Ipswich (The Rose and Crown) and Mildenhall (The White Hart). Depending on which part of Suffolk you are in it is only a short hop to the gay pubs in Manningtree (The Fox and Hounds), Cambridge (The Fleur de Lys, The Rose & Crown) and Norwich (The Castle, The Catherine Wheel, The Lounge).
Clubbers at Betty Ford's, Ipswich
If you prefer clubs you can try Betty Ford’s in Ipswich, The Dot Cotton Club and Life in Cambridge and The Loft or Absolution in Norwich.
Another good way to meet other gay people when you live in a rural area is over the net. There are several popular gay websites such as Gaydar (which has over 1000 users in Suffolk , many thousands more in the bordering counties and is free to use) and Out In The UK which has social groups in the area. As with all chat sites, you need to follow common sense with regards to meeting people for the first time.
Those who say Suffolk has no gay life outside the odd pub or club are simply not looking in the right places. Ipswich has social groups for all ages. OUTreach is for 13-19 year olds, there's a youth group called Oasis (Out And Strong In Suffolk) and, for those who have left youth behind, there's the Ipswich Area Gay Group for the over-35s which organises dinners and social outings. Other activities include a Women’s Group, a Workshop for Lesbians and a Non-Scene Social for those, well, not on the scene. For those who like leather there is the Gay Biker’s Motorcycle Club which covers East Anglia. There are many other UK-wide gay societies that either have a base in Suffolk or have outings in our county, such as the Gay Outdoors Club which has a Suffolk group.
Peter Pears and Benjamin Britten
You Don't Have To Be Gay, But It Helps
Of course a social event or place doesn’t have to be specifically gay to attract a gay following. The annual Aldeburgh Festival, founded by Benjamin Britten, his partner Peter Pears and Eric Crozier, is very popular with the gay classical music loving crowd.
Lose your preconceptions
If you are a long standing resident of Suffolk and find it lacking in gay spirit one final suggestion is to re-visit some of these places with a fresh mind. Pubs, clubs, websites and social groups are only as good as the people who use them. If you want somewhere to be gay-friendly, you must first ask yourself if you are a friendly gay.
last updated: 26/11/2008 at 14:33
Have Your Say
Has Paul missed anything?
mr john douglas
John in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
James F , Ipswich
Kev & Dean
Kev & Dean
Peter [British Columbia,Canada]
aaron + tom
niel at Brandon,
hi im alex