Every Thursday evening, Goldie’s Convenience hosts Queer Wine Night, an event that gathers members of the queer community to socialize, sip on cocktails and enjoy activities and drag performances by local drag queen Sasha Tease.   

Goldie’s Convenience opened in September 2021 by owner Lindsay Cameron in downtown Kitchener, and specializes in natural wine. The space hosts teal subway tiles, a large variety of sweeping plants, neon lights and disco balls. The drinks menu is brimming with products from small wineries and breweries and creative cocktails complimented by a cold snack menu focused on cheeses, preserves and locally made sweets.   

At the queer wine night on May 25, the room is bustling with positive energy and excitement. The event, mostly advertised on Instagram draws a diverse crowd every week and is received well by KW locals.  

“I mean there’s nothing that sounds more fun than queer and wine,” Anais, an attendee, said.   

The event debuted in March 2022 as a response to a lack of queer-friendly spaces in the region and following the closure of a variety of gay bars and clubs in the years before. The space was carefully curated in a way that promotes socialization between attendees.   

“[We need] queer spaces that aren’t hyper-sexual, that are about community, conversation and getting to meet new people,” Cameron said.   

While Goldie’s Convenience is not officially listed as a queer space, Lindsay describes its natural progression to being known as one in the region due to herself and staff members identifying as members of the queer community, in turn introducing queer friends to the space. While shaking up a creamy espresso martini, Cameron talks about having started Queer Wine Night intentionally to create a dedicated space for her community.   

Sasha Tease, a born performer, struts around the restaurant clearing tables and engaging guests in conversation. They also run beginner-friendly drag events at AOK Craft Beer + Arcade.   

“I myself craved opportunities to meet new queer people,” they said.  

Both hosts mention the need for support from businesses in the region in creating these spaces as well.  Sasha said businesses should  use available resources to uplift the queer community, whether it be monetary time or space. To some, support can show itself in ensuring its environment is a place where queer people feel welcome and safe. Cameron said it is easy to recognize when someone is not intending to respect the safe space.   

“ [I] hold strict boundaries [with] anyone who ever comes in and makes it feel unsafe,” Cameron said. “ [When someone doesn’t respect boundaries], you watch the energy of the room just drop.”  

While managing the logistics of special events is difficult and time consuming, Cameron noted its all made worth it by seeing groups come in, chat,make connections and enjoy themselves.  

While there is a notable lack of queer- and trans-oriented spaces in the region, the few spaces that continue to exist are cherished by the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.