‘Thrust’ causes upset for LBGT

Carly Hilts 13 November 2008

Cambridge University Students’ Union (CUSU) LBGT have held an open meeting after receiving complaints about the new name of the Tuesday club night held at The Place, ‘Thrust’.

CUSU Ents Officer Math Morgan said: “We’ve only had a couple of complaints – and this has been about the name of the club. People are generally very happy with how the night is run.”

He added: “We had a meeting with CUSU, LBGT and club representatives discussing the issues that have been raised and how to move forward with the issue. There’s been no definite decision as of yet – at the moment we’re just looking at what people have said, post-open meeting.”

This comes after Women’s Council proposed a motion that CUSU ents should not be demeaning on a basis of gender or sexual orientation.

Despite difficulties in deciding how to classify what might be seen as demeaning or offensive, the Women’s Union passed it last Thursday.

As part of the proposal, CUSU Women’s Officer Natalie Szarek was mandated to keep in contact with the Ents Officer when future ents are being planned.

She said: “I think it’s important for CUSU Ents that the ents it promotes are viewed positively by its students, not just in terms of having a good time, but in terms of what it says about the LGBT community, women, etc. I am confident that the CUSU Ents Officer will do their utmost to represent this.”

“CUSU needs to set the standard for other nights like college ents,” she added.

Another result of the proposal passing will be the development of a specific complaints policy with clear provisions for complaints about ents.

Any action taken on the issue of the club night’s name will be the first application of this policy.

The club night was renamed after taking on new promoters, but some students have criticized the choice of name.

Szarek said: “‘Thrust’ is a sexual word however you try to label it. The club night isn’t a sex-fest. Granted, we had ‘Kinki’ nights, but every hetero-normative night isn’t called something like ‘Penetration’ – you have to be careful of how you portray the LBGT community.

“It’s about self-definition. People have to have the right to say this isn’t how they want to be portrayed and defined.”

Math Morgan said: “I’m fairly indifferent to the name. I want to listen to what students have to say.

“Obviously we don’t want to run a night that would be offensive to anyone. There are difficulties because the promoters of the club have used the name elsewhere and like the name, but we obviously want to look at the issues as raised by students. We’re looking to see where we can compromise to achieve the best solution for students.”

Numerous solutions were suggested at the open meeting, from changing the name again to changing the promoter.

Natalie Szarek said: “The ideal situation would be to work with the ents partners and rebrand it – to build on something that already has a reputation and a following would be the best solution.

“If that proves to be impossible and they choose to set up a parallel night then I would support them in that as Liberation Officer but I am optimistic that we could find a practical solution.”

CUSU LBGT released the following statement: “CUSU LBGT Executive have received a number of complaints from students about the name and branding of our new club night, Thrust at The Place on Tuesdays. Following this, the club night was discussed at our Open Meeting on Sunday to get further input and opinions from the LBGT student community. The club promoters, Thrust Promotions, have been made aware of the issues students have with the night, and are working with CUSU LBGT and Ents to rectify the matter as soon as possible.”

Carly Hilts