Klub Verboten and Crossbreed, two of London's most renowned kink and fetish club nights, have been threatened with legal action if they continue to host parties by a council in East London.
As investigated in VICE, according to Klub Verboten creator Karl Verboten, in March, Tower Hamlets Council contacted the organisers of both parties, requesting that they "prohibit nudity and semi-nudity in safeguarded venues."
With the former beginning in 2016 and the latter three years later, both Klub Verboten (also known as Verboten) and Crossbreed cater to sex-positive, LGBTQ-friendly audiences.
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The two parties feature electronic music – mostly techno at Verboten – as well as offering a BDSM dungeon and playroom where consenting people may hook up with and explore sexual connections with other guests at a variety of London venues.
But both of these parties, which act as safe havens for many queer people, have come under attack by the council.
Writing on Instagram, Crossbreed said: "As some of you may already be aware Tower Hamlets council have targeted Klub Verboten's event this weekend and are trying to shut it down.
"Yesterday we received an email from Tower Hamlets putting pressure on us quoting the same archaic laws and attempting to shut us down. We stand with Klub Verboten and all Queer Spaces against state-sanctioned oppression.
"We are in the process of speaking with a legal team and assessing our options, as things stand this weekend's event will absolutely be going ahead.
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Echoing this, as reported in VICE, Crossbreed DJ Kiwi – wrote in an email on Wednesday to mailing list members: “Yesterday we received an email from Tower Hamlets putting pressure on us, quoting the same archaic laws and attempting to shut us down. We stand with Klub Verboten and all queer space's against state-sanctioned oppression.”
Expanding on this in another email on Tuesday, Karl of Klub Verboten said: “Tower Hamlets Council is relying on an outdated and moralistic licence condition that purports to prohibit ‘nudity and semi-nudity at clubbing venues to shut Klub Verboten down."
As this BBC article states, in the United Kingdom, being naked in public is not illegal, but "it does become an offence if it can be proved the person stripped off with the intention to upset and shock".
As stated in VICE's article, it would be "nigh-on impossible for someone who isn’t expecting nudity" to be at an event- due to the heavy checking and tough entry requirements to these spaces.
Local governments, on the other hand, have control over licenced establishments and have the right to prescribe and influence the conditions of business conducted there.
Karl tells VICE that he feels Verboten has been singled out because of its demography, which includes a sizable number of young LGBT individuals.
He said: “Inconsistencies were created by councils turning blind eyes to most sex clubs and their likes for decades, entirely disregarding safeguarding measures and the council’s duty of care for kinksters,” he says. “But this new version [of parties] has youth momentum, so it’s suddenly not okay. The question is: Why can’t we talk about this like adults?”
VICE has reached out to Tower Hamlets Council for a response, but as of March 17, none has been received.
Aneesa Ahmed is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter